The Farley Landscape Setting by Sue Walker, Forestry Houses
Farley is a beautiful old village, set amongst fields and woods whose boundaries haven’t changed in centuries. The village has some lovely old dwellings – not least the Wardenry and Alms Houses – and almost all its buildings remain harmonious and pleasing to the eye. The church, the pub and village hall, together with the Cricket Field and Farley Fox Play Area, give us all a sense of continuity and timelessness in this modern age where rapid change is the norm.
The “Farley Triangle” of narrow roads has mostly fields and old hedgerows within it and outside it: pasture and arable dominate, with wild hops and clematis winding through ancient hedges. We still have a few old hay meadows, one being particularly flower and wildlife rich, while elsewhere in our county and beyond some 96% of hay meadows have been lost to neglect or changes in farming practice. Our meadows still have southern marsh and common spotted orchids, and many other rare meadow flowers adorned by butterflies and grasshoppers long since disappeared from other areas.
Farley Copse, White’s Common and Blackmoor Copse, Hound Wood and Bentley Wood together form a fabulous remnant tract of the ancient Clarendon Royal Hunting Forest. Some of our local hedgerow oaks and those in the middle of fields are surviving veterans of that forest. We have an amazing suite of butterflies, moths and woodland flowers to enjoy because of this wealth of high quality woodland.
The compactness and cohesiveness of Farley’s historic core with a (so far) intact link to its rural pasture/meadow/forest landscape setting is priceless. The village is easily crossed on foot and by bicycle. I can’t think of many villages where you can walk from the pub to the cricket field and see rare brown hairstreak butterflies, a wasp spider, a family of bullfinches, a barn owl or a flock of 40 lapwings.
Rural and wooded landscapes protrude into the village, mostly complementing and enhancing its character and often providing key views. All these green corridors should be conserved and managed to ensure new developments don’t have adverse effects on the landscape character or the way that it is perceived, and without compromising its values.
We are SO lucky to have local landowners that manage their land with great continuity and sympathy, and a Parish Council that is sensitive to Farley’s treasures.