“Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck.” Alice Hoffman
Tucked away in Banstead on the North Surrey Downs is the beautiful Mayfield Lavender Fields, a twenty-five acre sea of purple that is just as visually stunning as it is fragrant. It’s also an awesome place to take photos, in fact it has become so popular with summer visitors that an overflow car park has been introduced nearby. Two different varieties of English lavender are grown here, Folgate and Maillette as well as the hybrid Grosso, the indigo coloured flowers are harvested and then distilled to make organic lavender oil. An extensive range of other lavender based products are available to buy in the market style shop, sprigs of dried lavender, all manner of lavender infused toiletries infused that remind you of your granny and even lavender lemonade, biscuits and cakes. These products are also available to purchase at Mayfield’s secondly site, a plant nursery in nearby Epsom as well as online.
Visitors are welcome to wander the field to enjoy the uniform rows of flowers and their distinctive scent, hundreds of bees can be seen busily collecting the nectar (luckily lavender can be used for stings should you get stung). A nominal entry fee of £1 per person is charged which goes towards the upkeep of the farm (children 16 & under are free). A small alfresco cafe offers refreshments including lavender tea and there are lots of country pubs nearby to grab a pint and a bite to eat. Mayfield is popular with all ages it would seem, we visited on a sunny Sunday afternoon and it was packed with visitors from families with babies in pushchairs to the elderly. Everyone was smiling and enjoying just being outside in the sunshine, admiring the simple yet amazing natural beauty spot where mother nature is displayed in all her glory and then of course posting it on Instagram (guilty as charged).
Back in Victorian times huge parts of this county were covered in lavender fields due to the chalky free-draining soil of the area. Mayfield, located on the site of one of those original Victorian farms, was set up ten years ago by the Maye family in a bid to revive the historic tradition and dispel the myth that lavender is old-fashioned, from what I saw and boosted by articles in Time Out London and The Metro among others, it appears to be working a treat. Mayfield Lavender Fields will be open to the public until mid September (check before you visit here), if you are in the Banstead area pop down and have a wander round, you may find yourself thinking you are in deepest Provence not Surrey. Remember to breathe deeply and enjoy the aroma, it’s not only good for the soul but your social media too, try the traditional still lavender lemonade as it was quite delicious. Here’s a few snaps from our visit earlier this month.
Mayfield Lavender Fields
Location: 1 Carshalton Road, Banstead. SM7 3JA
Opening Times: Open every day 9am to 6pm from 1st June to 14th September
Telephone: +44 (0) 7503 877707
Picnics are not permitted. Dogs are welcomed on leads.
Mayfield Plant Nursery & Shop – 139 Reigate Road, Ewell. KT17 3DW (Open Tuesday – Saturday – 9am to 5.30pm)
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved.