Braziers Park lies in the beautiful Chiltern Hills, on the edge of the village of Ipsden and close to the town of Wallingford. Oxford lies to the north and Reading to the south.
We have 57 acres of land, including the main house and several outbuildings. The history of these building spans over 300 years, and a stone in the cellar carries the date 1688. The main building, originally a farmhouse, was remodelled in Strawberry Hill Gothic style in the late 18th and early 19th century, and has been a Grade II* listed building since 1985.
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. 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.
Our land remains farmland, mainly used as 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.
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.