FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Lavender blue

Posted in Croydon, England by folkestonejack on July 26, 2014

Our wanders this weekend took us to Mayfield Lavender, a 25 acre lavender farm just a short bus ride away from Croydon. It is virtually on my doorstep and yet I had never heard of it until last week (courtesy of a fascinating post from Diamond Geezer).

The field makes a striking sight from the first moment that you enter – a sea of blueish-indigo flowers in which visitors can be seen bobbing about. It is certainly a popular attraction at this time of year, with almost the entire bus emptying on our arrival.

Mayfield Lavender

Mayfield Lavender

In the nineteenth century this part of Surrey (encompassing Mitcham, Carshalton, Wallington and Banstead) was at the centre of a lavender growing industry, supplying companies such as Yardley for use in their perfume and toiletries. Hundreds of acres were planted with lavender, swathing the area in blue during the summer months. Today, there are relatively few farms in operation in the UK.

Mayfield Lavender was established in 2002 on the exact site of one of the nineteenth century lavender farms. Within its opening hours you can walk up and down the rows, admiring two varieties of english lavender (Folgate and Maillette) and a hybrid (Grosso).

A sea of indigo-blue

A sea of indigo-blue flowers

It was interesting to note the differences between the varieties, particularly the sheer volume of bees buzzing around the Grosso and the amazing sound that this created (assuming that you haven’t got Marillion’s Lavender involuntarily running through your head!).

After our short walk we rewarded ourselves with some of the farm shop’s homemade lavender ice cream before heading home. Many thanks to Diamond Geezer for highlighting such a surprising local attraction!

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