Whites Wood Farm, home to ‘Led by the Wild’, is owned by Tom and Ali Body, and their two children. Very much a labour of love, embracing traditional rural crafts and peasantry farming methods, the land is used as a small holding as the family work towards living as self-sufficiently as possible, rearing a small flock of Romney sheep, occasionally raising pigs, enjoying their Welsh cob, Annie, and their two Shetland ponies, Sophie and Seven.

Legends and the Land

Formerly used as an iron foundry, and farmed by the Body family on and off for over 100 years, the land is steeped in history. Sitting at the foot of the mysterious Aldington Knoll, which inspired Ford Madox Ford’s famous poem, ‘The Old Smuggler Speaks’, and where a giant is rumoured to be buried, the fields overlook the stunning Romney Marsh from Dymchurch to Rye.

‘Al’ington Knoll it stands up high,

Guidin’ the sailors sailin’ by,

Stands up high for all to see

Cater the marsh and crost the sea.’

The Old Smuggler Speaks

Ford Madox Ford

Saturated in stories of smugglers, spies and even Roman burials, Whites Wood Farm and its surrounding land inspires stories of mystery with many secrets hidden amongst the hornbeam trees and ancient oaks waiting to be discovered.

Modern History

Once connected to the adjacent Goldenhurst manor the land and wood were formerly owned by the famous actor Noel Coward for much of the first half of the twentieth century. His old track to the manor can still be seen through the grand brick gate entrance on the far side of the woodland. However, with the outbreak of the second world war, Goldenhurst manor and the connected land provided a perfect strategic position for views over the marsh and out to sea, and became a look out post for the army.

The Story Continues…

In 2017, after owning the site for a couple of years, Tom and Ali began to invite community groups to share and enjoy the farm and forest. This initiative brought together Steph, Jo, Tom and Ali and Led by the Wild, was born!

Since then, the site has gone from strength to strength, becoming a haven for nature and people alike.  Our growing group of volunteers have created a pollinator garden meaning the summer is filled with the sounds of buzzing and the colours of butterflies.  We have also added several ponds, including a large pond dug out in the main pasture in February this year and so hopefully our great crested newt and dragonfly populations should thrive.  And don’t forget our orchard, wildflower meadow, edible garden … we are so excited about what the future holds!