Multi-million pound Irchester heritage project appoints new supervisor for £35,000 stewardship programme

Chester Farm, rebranded as Chester House Estate, will open in late 2021

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 2:38 pm

A new supervisor to look after the landscape surounding an historic Irchester farm site has been appointed to oversee work around the grounds and fields.

The Chester Farm site, now rebranded as Chester House Estate, has been awarded £35,000 by Countryside Stewardship to clear scrubland and create access with stunning views across the estate.

Gary Akehurst, facilities supervisor, will be using the funding, awarded by the Government, as an incentive to farmers and land managers to look after and improve the environment.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Work is expected to be finished in the spring and will involve educational and community incentives.

He said: “We’re creating a new entrance to the estate from Claudius Way and are clearing all the scrub from the land between the entrance and the house.

“It means that visitors will be able to walk along the ridge with uninterrupted views of the River Nene and the house, which is going to look stunning.”

A refreshed strategy for the Chester Farm was announced last month for the nationally-important scheduled monument that has evidence of human activity going back more than 2,000 years.

Gary Akehurst, Facilities Supervisor,

The site includes indications of two Iron Age farms, a Roman walled town and a medieval village known as Chester–by–the-Water.

Other work being carried out as part of the Countryside Stewardship includes new fencing to open up wider areas of the site and creating grazing lands for farm animals which will have a positive impact on the sustainability of the site.

They are also working with Moulton College to provide practical experience for their land management courses, such as hedge laying.

Gary is one of three new appointments at the estate and has previously worked for the Government and at a farm attraction near Peterborough.

Chester Farm House now called the Chester House Estate

He has been volunteering at Chester House before his role, which comes with accommodation on site, became official.

He said: “We’re about halfway through clearing the scrub now and we’re already beginning to see nature returning to the area. Looking out at the view across towards Wellingborough is a real highlight.”

Jack Pishhorn, Chester House business manager, added: “We’ve outlined grand plans for the site and the Countryside Stewardship money has been absolutely crucial in allowing us to visualise how the Estate will look when we reopen during 2021. It’s going to be an incredible asset to the community and wider area.

“We’re delighted that Gary has joined the team and is leading this project.”

Key stakeholders in the project include Northamptonshire County Council, National Heritage Lottery Fund, Nenescape, Wellingborough Council, Historic England and Natural England.