Braziers Park is situated within the Chiltern Hills, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), on the edge of the village of Ipsden and close to the town of Wallingford. To the north lies Oxford and to the south, Reading.
The estate consists of some 57 acres of land, the main house and a large number of outbuildings. The main house and associated buildings have a history which spans over 300 years, and a stone in the cellar carries the date 1688. The main building, originally a farmhouse, was remodelled in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style during the late 18th and early 19th century, and since 1985 has been designated a Grade II* listed building.
The most famous resident of Braziers was the author Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond. His brother Peter Fleming, who wrote of his expeditions in Brazil and the far east, enjoyed the estate. He later married Celia Johnson. Their father, Valentine Fleming, bought the house in 1906, when he was the MP for South Oxfordshire. However, they did not live there for long, as in 1911 Braziers was sold again to Sir Ernest Moon, and it remained the property of his widow until 1950, when it was purchased by Norman Glaister to become the home of the Braziers community and college.
The land belonging to Braziers remains as farmland, mainly used for pasture with enclosing woodland, in sharp contrast to the large areas of open arable land around it. The underlying geology is chalk, with superficial deposits of clay-with-flints in places. The Braziers’ estate is now being managed so the wide diversity of habitats can be preserved and enhanced. These include meadows containing some rare grassland species.
Braziers has its own organic kitchen garden and orchard. There is also a water garden, created by the Flemings, amenity gardens and a woodland walk, which offers visitors an opportunity to experience some of the wildlife beauties of the estate. The woodland walk also incorporates Braziers’ Timewalk, which exemplifies the journey of the Universe through time from the Big Bang to the present day.
In 2001 Braziers successfully applied to join the Government’s Countryside Stewardship Scheme which provides funding for managing land for conservation purposes. The scheme has completed ten years and covers hedge planting and maintenance, tree planting, both for landscape enhancement and to provide woodland for coppicing, and meadow management. Much of the work involved so far has been undertaken by volunteers.
We try to maintain the buildings and land as ecologically as possible and to reduce our carbon footprint wherever we can. Electricity is supplied by Ecotricity and heating and hot water from a highly efficient woodchip boiler system. In the coming years we have plans for greater water harvesting and renovation of our ancient barn, dairy and granary – we are always grateful for volunteers and expertise to help us with these projects.