Our history

Wakelyn de Hartshill was apparently given this land in Suffolk in the mid 15th century. The farmhouse dates back to about the 16th century.

Ann and Martin Wolfe bought the farm in 1992 after Martin’s earlier scientific career had showed how mixing just three varieties of a cereal crop together could restrict disease and stabilise crop yield.

Their idea was further to experiment with forms of agriculture by using diversity and reversing the trend to crop monoculture though organic rotation agroforestry.

Here’s a lovely interview with Ann and Martin on Radio 4’s On Your Farm programme from 1997 about their early plans at Wakelyns:

Permaculture Magazine explained it all beautifully in 1996 in the article Trees among the Wheat.

Wakelyns in 1992, when Ann & Martin bought the fields – just a wheat crop
Martin and Maria Fink planting some of the original trees in 1994
And so the trees grew….
And they grew…
And they grew! Our oldest agoforestry planting is now over 25 years old

Wakelyns has collaborated with the Organic Research Council’s for many years, and in 2004 they produced the leaflet Wakelyns Agroforestry… science for ecological agriculture.

Ann and Martin kept detailed notes on their work at Wakelyns:

More recently, Wakelyns was also featured in The Guardian, explaining agroforestry and telling the story of population wheats and YQ flour:

There’s lot of archive material of their life and work at Wakelyns elsewhere on this website.

And here is an introduction to what has happened since Ann and Martin died