ECE were approached by Wiston Estate in 2017 to comprehensively redevelop the site at North Farm in West Sussex, with the primary aim of realising the estate’s strategic plan to create an exemplar enterprise site within the South Downs National Park.
Through consultation with the South Downs National Park, the landscape led approach focused on enhancing the historic farmstead, improving and intensifying a brownfield site. Mature trees and boundary vegetation were retained & added to with plants beneficial to local fauna. The inclusion of new trees along the entrance spine road, and specification of bat and bird boxes/ tiles realise further biodiversity improvements. The SDNP location led to the use of the Dark Skies guidance to conserve the views of the Milky Way.
From the outset a sustainable approach had been adopted towards the design, construction, and operation of the new Winery. An energy hierarchy of Lean, Clean and Green was followed to reduce operational energy use and carbon emissions, with passive design prioritised. The retention and reuse of existing buildings reduced the developments embodied carbon, with air source heat pumps installed for both the historic and new buildings and electric car charging points provided.
ECE also specified locally sourced materials where practicable. Materials with a connection to nature, or that would express the site’s identity and sense of place were prioritised, such as the locally extracted flint for the gabion wall, existing timber roof trusses retained & reclaimed clay tiles. Oak is widely used for cladding, again sourced on the estate itself. Negligible embodied carbon in manufacture & transport.
Three Winning Facts:
- Awards: Wiston Estate Winery has already been the recipient of several prestigious awards including winning the Commercial Award and being Highly Commended at the Sussex Heritage Trust Awards. We await confirmation on its final placing at the Civic Trust Awards, where we will either be awarded as winner or highly commended.
- Tourism site: The completed scheme has revitalised what was an underused part of the South Downs National Park. The Winery now has a tourist facing offering–a new shop, wine tour and restaurant to promote, not only the award-winning wine, but also local produce. It also makes accessing the SDNP easier with an improved public right of way and facilities for walkers to enjoy.
- Historic Assets: The project has sensitively restored two previously dilapidated historic barns into a fine dining restaurant with external courtyard. The buildings were being left to ruin, but have been reinvented with a new use, maintaining a visual reference to the site’s former farm heritage.