At The Oak Barn, Frame Farm, we host weddings and events in a range of beautifully restored Grade II Listed barns, complimented by luxurious accommodation for 20 guests in Weaver's Cottages. The farmstead sits in a secluded valley below the village of Benenden in the High Weald AONB and our 25 acres of pasture and woodland are home to Romney sheep and abundant wildlife. We are a small family run team focussed on providing the highest quality guest experience with the lowest environmental impact.
To conserve our environment, run a sustainable business and provide the highest quality client experience.
When we took on the farm the historic buildings, which date from 1607, were in very poor condition with major structural issues and general dilapidation. Our restoration project took more than three years but has brought these redundant buildings back to life and given them a new purpose. We placed great importance on retaining the character of the buildings, using traditional materials and working sensitively to create event spaces that provide modern comfort with rustic charm.
Outside, the gardens and grounds reflect the wild beauty of the Kent countryside with a reinstated well and lily pond and enhanced native planting. We have made a lot of our furniture from a dead oak tree that we felled on the farm. Each year we improve the stock fencing, restore hedgerows and plant native trees. Our focus is on pollinator species. Specific areas of the farm are kept wild and a new area of woodland known as Woodpecker Wood is flourishing in it's seventh year.
Green Energy and Efficiency
We made a deliberate move away from fossil fuels when converting the farm. We now have one biomass boiler with a very efficient underground heat main that provides the heating and hot water for all the buildings. The laundry loft has been built above the boiler room and warm air ducts keep bedding and towels warm and dry ready for use. All our daytime electricity is proved by 23Kw of photovoltaic panels on two of our barn roofs. The restoration included replacement of all lighting and appliances with low energy systems and we strive to manage day to day operations with energy conservation in mind.
Carbon and Waste Management
We carefully select our event suppliers and favour local produce and companies. Many come from our local villages and they must all be within an hours travel time of the farm in order to reduce road miles. We do not permit single use plastic and have a stringent recycling policy. Those that support our ethos are included on our approved suppliers list for clients.
All our guests are encouraged to use public transport or car share to reduce the impact of their journeys to the farm. All our clients are asked to think carefully about the planning of their event to reduce their impact by selecting suppliers with good environmental credentials; Our mantra is local, low impact, reduce, re-use and recycle! We plant a tree on the farm for every event.
Economy and Community
Our small team of local employees ensure the venue runs smoothly and is immaculate for every event. From the office to housekeepers and gardeners, their input is invaluable. Beyond the farm gate, the benefits filter through the community with local pubs, hotels, B&B's, taxi companies, florists, photographers, caterers, musicians and other hire companies benefiting from our clients and their guests. It is an important contribution to the local rural economy.
Our initiative has safeguarded our Grade II listed historic buildings by giving them a new economic purpose. Unlike residential conversions, our barns can be enjoyed by all our visiting guests in a form much closer to their agricultural heritage.
The farm has over 1000 new plants, shrubs and native trees and many wild areas where we frequently see grass snakes, slow worms, field mice, kestrels which breed in the area each year, Tawny, Barn and Little owls, Buzzards and Woodpeckers. The lily pond has abundant aquatic life including Emperor Dragon flies and Damselflies and Grey Wagtails take up residence in the Pole Barn every Spring to breed. We have a number of bat boxes and a healthy bat population using these and the barns for roosting.
Our environmental impact is minimised by use of renewable energy sources, ongoing efforts to use local suppliers and in the guidance of our clients in responsible event planning and use of resources. We won the 2021 Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award at the Rural Business Awards.
We have won new business from clients who have specifically searched for an Eco-Venue for their wedding or event and it is a significant factor in securing bookings for those who have a genuine desire to be sustainable even if it is not a prime criteria in their venue search.
Our conservation work on the land and in the gardens continues to add to the natural beauty and attractiveness of the farm with clear benefits for our guests and all those who work here as staff or suppliers. The costs saved by our solar PV panels have now covered the capital investment. We are now looking into battery storage and water harvesting systems.
A sense of satisfaction from clients who have managed to minimise the impact of their event and gratitude that we provide an infrastructure that makes that possible.
We like to think people leave here feeling inspired by what we have done and confident in creating positive change by their own actions.
Frame Farm, Iden Green Road, Benenden, Kent TN174EZ