The Estate

We work sustainably and we’re dedicated to reducing our impact on the environment to make sure that the next generations can enjoy all that the Estate has to offer.


We only sell peat free compost at our plant nursery in Longstock.  We’re looking to do more and are working with growers to reduce the amount of peat they use.  We aim to remove peat from all the plants we sell by 2025.


We know there’s more to do to remove plastic from our operations, but we’re making progress where we can.  We’ve reduced the amount of single-use plastic in our farm shop and nursery, we reuse plastic pots and offer a pot swap facility for our old plant pots and we use a recycling service that repurpose the plastic and metals into other goods, meaning around 80% of plastic from our nursery and farm shop is recycled or reused.

Where there’s a need to use packaging, we make sure it’s nearly always recycled or made from recyclable or compostable materials and if not, we’ll look to reuse it.


We work with local and regional suppliers who share our ethical values.  We believe in supporting our local economy and community for now and for the future. Over 40% of products sold in our farm shop and nursery are from local and regional suppliers.


We’re reducing waste across the estate.  We want to waste as little as possible and know that some waste is inevitable but find solutions for the waste where we can. 

Waste Milk: Any waste milk from our bottling unit contributes to the production of natural gas in our biomethane plant.

Rapeseed Cake: Our cattle are fed rapeseed cake which is the by-product of our cold pressed rapeseed oil.

Rainwater Capture: We use rainwater captured in our reservoirs to water plants in the nursery throughout the year.

As a water supplier, we regularly monitor water usage across our operations so we can identify water leaks and carry out timely repair work.



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 and that is KINDER TO THE ENVIRONMENT. 

We believe in farming in a way that produces great quality food, protects soils, conserves water and enhances nature. Where possible, we are looking to adopt nature-based solutions for the feeding and protection of our crops: this is important in developing a climate-positive and biodiversity-positive farming and food production system. 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 our place of work.


We are rising to the challenge through our regenerative land management strategy across the estate, focusing on practices that improve the health of our soils and enhance overall biodiversity on our estate. 

Our approach to regenerative farming is based around 5 key principles:

In practice, this means that:

  • We plant our field crops with minimal soil disturbance, using either strip-till or no-till establishment techniques. Not only does this help in building soil health, but we have recorded large savings in our consumption of diesel, as our tractors are not using energy to move as much soil.
  • We have a 12 year crop rotation, which creates more crop diversity, allows us to reduce our inputs of synthetic fertiliser and crop protection products, and helps build up soil organic matter, which will increase our system resilience over time. 
  • Through the design of the crop rotation and the inclusion of short duration cover crops, we avoid leaving bare earth, which helps protect our soils from erosion and our groundwater from nutrient leaching.
  • Not only do we aim to avoid having bare soil, we also try to have plants growing in the soil for as long as possible during the course of the year. This not only helps to protect soil structure, it also helps to enhance soil health, as the presence of living roots helps to feed the microbial life within the soil, and aids nutrient cycling. 
  • Soil nutrient cycling is also significantly enhanced by the integration of livestock within our crop rotation, grazing the herbal leys and winter cover crops, so building natural soil fertility and reducing our reliance on purchased fertilisers. Our livestock also play a vital role in managing biodiversity in the areas of the farm that are not cropped, specifically our water meadows and botanically-rich chalk grassland.

We practice a regenerative approach to our farm and land management through using the best of modern technology and traditional methods. We have scanned our fields using electro-magnetic 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 application of inputs allows us to be more efficient, reducing our overall level of inputs, and, through more precisely managed crop husbandry, producing higher crop yields. The yield maps generated by our combine harvester at harvest now show more uniform crops than before.

The integration of ruminant livestock within our regenerative land management system is of paramount importance in reducing our reliance on external inputs (especially synthetic fertilisers). They are also instrumental in helping us sequester more carbon in our soils, supplementing the carbon sequestered by our 28 kilometres of hedgerows and 156 hectares of woodland

We have been explicitly following the five regenerative principles since 2020, and believe that our approach will accelerate our achievement of regenerative outcomes, i.e. measurable improvements in soil health, biodiversity, water quality, carbon balance and animal welfare. 


We can already evidence ‘regenerative’ outcomes from our commitment over the last 20 years to an integrated farm management (or, more specifically, an integrated crop management, ICM) approach. Our ICM approach has already generated a measurable improvement in soil organic matter over the past 10 years. This not only suggests that the health of our soils has been improving, it also indicates that we have already been sequestering significant amounts of carbon in our soils over time. 

With a more dedicated focus on regenerative practices, we will see even more significant reductions in our use of artificial inputs - fertilisers and agrochemicals - and in our reliance on fossil fuels, and, in addition, we will be able to sequester more carbon in our soils. For now, we can already evidence positive environmental outcomes, as we continue our journey towards carbon net zero.


Our target for the wider Waitrose & Partners business is to be carbon net zero (CNZ) by 2035. We are already on that journey at Leckford. Having been a LEAF Marque certified business (Linking Environment and Farming) for over 20 years, we have detailed records which will allow us to track our farm carbon balance over time.

For example, over the last 20 years, our greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption on the farm have fallen, as we have adopted, first, minimum tillage crop establishment techniques, and, more recently, strip-till and no-till crop establishment. Just by minimising soil disturbance in our farming operations,  we’ve saved enough fuel each year to run a typical family car for 125,000 miles - that’s five times around the world!

Other examples of where we have reduced our reliance on fossil fuels include:

  • All of our mains electricity is on a ‘green’ contract.
  • We also have photovoltaic panels on the roofs of two of our farm buildings.
  • We have been mowing and cutting our parkland and track verges less frequently, saving even more fuel and also encouraging beneficial insects and wildlife.
  • We have replaced two of our diesel powered maintenance vans with electric vehicles. 

In 2023, we were the first UK farm to start harvesting fugitive methane from our farmyard manure to power a CNG (compressed natural gas) biomethane tractor. This is truly innovative cutting edge technology, designed and developed in Cornwall, and already working on a small number of ‘slurry-based’ dairy farms. Over the next few years, we expect to be able to switch much, if not all, of our tractor fleet from diesel-power to be powered instead by biomethane from our own cattle.


We are a 2,800 acre estate in the beautiful Test Valley. A quarter of our land holding is not farmed, and a further 15%, whilst grazed by cattle, receives no inputs whatsoever. Therefore, with 40% of our landholding managed solely or primarily for habitat and landscape value, it is critical that we have a subject matter expert on our team. Our full time Biodiversity Officer at Leckford oversees habitat management, not only across this 40%, but across the rest of the estate as well.

We have a wide range of habitats and landscapes across the estate including arable land, pasture, orchards, vineyards, chalk grassland, water meadows, woodland, hedgerows, and  recreational land. All require bespoke attention, and all have an important role, through an integrated, holistic management approach, in ensuring that our 2,800 acres function optimally for farming and for nature. Our Biodiversity Officer runs a volunteering group which provides a great opportunity for the local community to be involved - please do get in touch by completing our contact form if you are interested in joining the volunteer group!


Waitrose is the first retailer to power its tractors by cow manure.  Find out more Fuelled by the farm!

Our John Lewis Partnership Plan for Nature.  Read Our Plan for Nature

Our Environmental Ethos at the Leckford Estate

Environmental ethos

learn more
Our Cookies

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used.

Read more about essential and non-essential cookies in our Privacy Notice