The Oak Barn, Frame Farm – Leaders in Sustainability

Written by Caitlin Hoare
The Oak Barn, Frame Farm, a family run wedding and events venue, has been selected as a National Finalist for The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award by the Rural Business Awards.

Sustainability and conscious consumerism is an ever-pressing topic and effects us all in a variety of different ways. While no one can be perfect, it’s always amazing to hear about wedding business-owners making profound changes to their practices, to ensure that their environmental impact is minimised wherever possible.

Having only launched in 2019 The Oak Barn, Frame Farm is already making a big impact due to their ethical choices. They have been shortlisted by the Rural Business Awards as a National Finalist for The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Awards – an incredibly impressive accolade, congratulations!

Sustainability is a topic that has been steadily filtering down to the wedding industry for some time. It’s also a topic that we’re very passionate about. We’re finding that couples are becoming much more eco-conscious and factor in a supplier’s eco-credentials before making final selections.

The Oak Barn, Frame Farm is no exception. This exclusive hire wedding and events venue sits in an enviable rural position within Kent’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Although set in over 20 acres of farmland and nestled in an idyllic valley below the village of Benenden, Frame Farm is conveniently located only an hour away from London and 30 minutes from Kent’s coast.

Owners, Tim and Deana Maw made Frame Farm their home in 2015 with the intention of creating an exceptional, eco-friendly venue. They made a deliberate move away from fossil fuels and a put a big focus on energy efficiency. They say, “Giving these barns a new life and the a farm a viable future was of great importance to us so we embarked on a meticulous restoration programme that took three and a half years to complete.”

During this time The Oak Barn, The Byre and Weaver’s Cottages were lovingly restored to offer state-of-the-art facilities. Beautifully incorporated into the fabric of the historic buildings, old and new blend perfectly. This historic venue is now wheelchair accessible and boasts some serious eco credentials; you can find solar panels, a biomass boiler and a biodigester here. Wherever possible they have recycled, upcycled and reused building materials in the renovation, in a stylish, purposeful way.

“We are extremely proud of this recognition as it was our vision to restore this derelict farm, give it a new use that would also create economic growth in the rural community and do so in environmentally responsible way.”

During their first year they renovated Weaver’s Cottages into guest accommodation. These five luxurious cottages date back to 1607 and can now accommodate up to 18 people. A biomass boiler was also installed at this time to provide all the heating and hot water requirements for all the buildings on the farm.

The Oak Barn at Frame Farm is the dry hire events space which allows clients and couples to create their own bespoke wedding or event.

Built from recycled timbers 250 years ago, this threshing barn was built on a sloping site that posed a number of design difficulties with floor levels. The ingenuity of the final design maximises the usable space but keeps a cosy and intimate feel – this is one special venue.

LED zoned lighting floods the roof space, paired with neatly hidden spotlights. Floor recessed up-lighting gives colour to fit with reception themes, and fairy lights complete the scene. The PA and sound system includes speakers in the toilets so no part of a speech is missed, and underfloor heating, a wood burner and air handling system create a the perfect ambiance for every season. They even managed to upcycle some old horse troughs discovered in the stables. These have become the gents and ladies’ sinks and contribute to the industrial feel throughout.

The Grade II listed barns are grouped around a traditional farmyard and provide a stunning setting. These spacious and elegant buildings offer beautiful views of the grounds including wildlife pond, pontoon and waterfall as well as tranquil views down the valley towards the sheep pasture.

The gardens at Frame Farm continue to mature thanks to Tim and Deana’s landscaping. They have managed to plant over 500 trees and plants so far, with plans to continue to add to their collection in the years to come.

Speaking after the finalists were announced, Tim Maw said, “We are honoured to be a National Finalist for The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award from the Rural Business Awards and Amazon. We are extremely proud of this recognition as it was our vision to restore this derelict farm, give it a new use that would also create economic growth in the rural community and do so in environmentally responsible way.”

He explained, “It was great to be a Regional Runner Up for Best Rural Start Up Business last year but our second year of trading has been exceptionally difficult due to the pandemic and very problematic for everyone in the hospitality industry. Becoming a National Finalist is a great morale boost and a wonderful way to end 2020.”

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