Farming at Leckford

The Waitrose & Partners Farm in the Test Valley, Hampshire, is the only UK retailer-owned farm committed to farming with nature and enhancing biodiversity through regenerative farming.

We have been farming sustainably since 1929, when the Estate was purchased by Spedan Lewis - the founder of the John Lewis Partnership.  Spedan Lewis cared about the environment, and was enthusiastic about the natural world and he put this at the heart of how he wanted to farm on the Leckford Estate.

We use more modern farming practices today, but we still adopt the same approach to sustainable farming set out by Spedan Lewis - which is as important to us now as ever before.


We grow wheat as our main crop which is milled to produce our range of Leckford flours. Crop rotation is an important part of regenerative farming, so we also grow barley, oats and oilseed rape.  Our oilseed rape crop is used in Leckford cold-pressed rapeseed oil which is pressed and bottled on the Estate and sent directly to our farm shop and Waitrose supermarkets.

Our orchards span around 30 acres and we grow a variety of apples and pears for eating and cooking and any surplus fruit is made into Leckford cider or Leckford apple juice.  The shallow, chalky soils at Leckford are typically not ideal for growing high-yielding fruit - but our soil gives our apples a wonderful taste and crispness.

Our vineyards also make the most of the soil conditions at Leckford, as these are the perfect growing conditions for the grapevines that produce the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes for Leckford sparkling wine

Planted in 2009 and then expanded in 2017 we now have around 18 acres of vines.  The vineyards are a striking display as you drive through Leckford, sloping gently towards the sun.  We don’t bottle on the Estate but we work closely with the experts at Ridgeview Winery who do - making sure every bottle is as good as the last.


As the Waitrose & Partners farm, we’ve always cared about the welfare of our animals and the impact of food production on the environment. At Leckford we have a farming system that produces high-quality food that is kinder to the environment.

We believe in sustainable farming practices that prioritise food quality, soil protection, water conservation and nature enhancement. Our goal is to implement nature-based solutions to nurture and safeguard our crops, which is important to foster a climate-positive and biodiversity-positive farming system for a sustainable future of producing quality food. It’s an approach that will ensure that we can produce good food sustainably for generations to come. 

From the way we manage our crops to the way we maintain our hedgerows, we are increasing the biodiversity across the land we farm and we are protecting and enhancing the natural resources upon which we depend, not just for food production but also as a place to live and work.



We practice a regenerative approach to our farm and land management by combining the best of modern technology and traditional methods. Our fields are scanned using electromagnetic induction to map the in-field natural variability in our soil types. We use these maps not only to guide our soil sampling and testing, but also to help us deploy ‘precision agriculture’ techniques such as variable-rate seeding and variable-rate fertiliser application.

This more precise use of inputs enhances efficiency, reduces our overall input levels and, with more precise crop management, boosts crop yields. The harvest yield maps generated by our combine harvester  during harvest, now display more uniform crops than before.

The integration of ruminant livestock is essential in our regenerative land management to reduce reliance on external inputs, especially synthetic fertilisers. Livestock are also instrumental in contributing to carbon sequestration in our soils, complementing the carbon stored by our 28 kilometres of hedgerows and 156 hectares of woodland.

We've been dedicated to the five regenerative principles since 2020 and are confident that our approach will drive measurable improvements in various areas such as soil health, biodiversity, water quality, carbon balance, and animal welfare.


Our Farming operations and the day-to-day running of our farming enterprises are overseen by Tom. Tom grew up on the family farm and has a wealth of experience managing livestock and arable farms. His committed team of Partners collectively holds over 75 years of experience in farming and conservation management.


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