The Down Farm Barn Project
The Clanfield Parish Council Project to restore the historic site it now owns.
Down Farm Barn is the prominent Sussex-flint, L shaped building at the junction of Green Lane with Chalton Lane. It dates from the late nineteenth century and is now owned by Clanfield Parish Council.
It was to have been demolished as part of the St James Place housing development and three bungalows built on the site but a village campaign was launched to save the building and planning permission was granted for the bungalows to be built elsewhere on the site.
Following that, the legal work began to transfer the site from the developer to the parish council. It proved to be a long, drawn-out process but two and a half years later, on 15 February 2019, the transfer was completed.
Until fifty years or so ago, it was part of the farm; an isolated landmark visible from the Portsmouth to London Road and people travelling down Chalton Lane would have passed it, reassured they were nearing the tiny village of Clanfield
William Heath began farming the land in 1919 as a mixed market garden and dairy; it was converted to a full dairy farm in the early 1930s. There was a large pond to the west of the barn.
A second cow pen (no longer there) was built in the early 1930s and the dairy building some time later when mains water was fed in. The roofs of the flint cow-pens were tiled.
When farming became more mechanised, other outer buildings were added to house equipment e g horse rake, hay sweeper and spinners, horse carts amongst other things. Pigsties and turkey houses were built further to the back of the farm.
Regrettably, the family had to sell the farm in the mid-1970s and it became Down Farm Livery until the land was sold once again.
The flint walls of the barn are in good condition but the roof needs replacing. Potential uses for the sections of the barn are as a parish office and museum/community facility plus space for businesses and organisations to rent to generate future maintenance income.
There is also evidence that various species of bat have used areas of the building in the past, so a community, bat-friendly, wildlife garden in the inner courtyard would also enhance the area and provide bio-diversity.Clanfield Parish Council has a working party of councillors, villagers, EHDC and Community First to develop a project plan for the
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