06/12/2019 // Paul Edwards
For anyone who has spent time in Saffron Walden and the surrounding area, it’s no secret that there’s something very special about this part of England.
Few can fail to marvel at the beautiful medieval architecture, the sweeping countryside panoramas of North West Essex or the incredible history of the neighbouring city of Cambridge.
But for us, what is really special about our region is far less obvious to the naked eye. And it’s right beneath your feet.
Roamed on by woolly mammoths over 40,000 years ago, our unique soil was formed in the Cretaceous period, when the entire region was covered by seawater.
The chalky land on which our vineyard now sits was formed from billions of miniscule sea creatures settling and compressing on the sea bed over millions of years. This mineral-rich chalk seam runs all the way from our vineyard in North West Essex, down through Sussex and into the renowned wine regions of Northern France.
When this soil combines with the area’s gently sloping hills, and our cool, dry climate and warmer summers, it creates the perfect conditions for growing exceptional produce.
History tells a story of how this combination of three elements – land, soil and climate – helped bring prosperity to the area. Our town was originally known simply as ‘Walden’ but earned its ‘Saffron’ prefix during the Medieval period when it sat at the heart of the global saffron trade.
Fields of Autumn-flowering crocuses once thrived in the region. And whilst the saffron trade died out in the 1700s, we believe it is the special make-up of the land which will help revive our region once again.
The Saffron region runs from the area South of Saffron Walden, up through the villages of Linton and into the city of Cambridge, connecting town and countryside.
We are excited about the potential to build something very special for the local area.
The signs are already here: Saffron Grange and other vineyards are starting to produce ever higher quality grapes; East of England agriculture continues to go from strength to strength; local businesses like The Gog Farmshop are winning national accolades for delicious produce grown on the low chalk hills of South Cambridge and one Essex farmer has even revived the tradition of saffron production, returning the crop to the fields of England for the first time in 200 years.
This boom in rural enterprise is also resulting in other new local businesses inspired by provenance and bringing great choice for local consumers and drawing in tourists from afar.
It is our vision that in the future the Saffron region will become home to fields of vines, as well as see other businesses utilising all the area has to offer to create world-renowned products and brands. We hope that this will bring new and exciting opportunities for local people, creating jobs, prosperity and reviving this valuable land for the generations to come.
This is why we’re proud to be champions of the Saffron region. If you’re a business that’s thriving locally, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this.