Grounds and Gardening
Hanford is fortunate to have a working kitchen garden and a walled garden in the grounds. Both are managed by our incredibly talented Head Gardener Chi Chi Dunford. Fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden supply our on-site school kitchen where our cooks use our home grown fruit and vegetables to make soups, salads, puddings. The famous Hanford lemons grown in one of our greenhouses are used in cakes. Both of these gardens are nearly 2 acres in size and therefore big enough to enable all our girls to have their own plots to plant and manage.
Hanford girls are encouraged to follow their tastes and interests guided by Chi Chi. The girls also learn about sustainability and the environmental benefits of locally grown produce. Chi Chi lives on site with her family and she also looks after Pet’s Corner where you will find the Hanford rabbits and guinea pigs. She is often found in the walled and is always happy to answer questions and give advice.
During the week the girls have timetabled gardening lessons with Chichi. The more enthusiastic, of which there are many, will spend most of their free time in the garden. In the summer you will find the girls sneaking the odd raspberry after lunch. But it is not just edible plants grown in the gardens flowers are important also and throughout the year there are blooms and blossoms available for filling the vases in the Hall, Library and Office. In high summer girls make garlands with the flowers they have grown.
Hanford is surrounded by woodland and its lawns are shaded by a selection of fascinating mature and unusual (some with a preservation order) trees. The curiosity and clamber for all things arboreal is infectious at Hanford. One of the first things a new girl will learn here is how to climb the famous cedar tree and during her time will plant her own fruit tree.
The Forest school was opened in 2020 and is run by Mrs Rawlingson Plant, who is currently taking her Level 1&2 Forest School qualifications. She teaches regular classes for all year groups and covers skills such as fire lighting, whittling, wood chopping alongside plant and animal identification.
In fact identifying creative, imaginative and effective ways to use our outside spaces (trees, lawns, space and nature) is integral into a Hanford education. The front lawn is used as green classroom – teaching everything from art to algebra or it can be a dance studio, theatrical stage or a tennis court. Sitting between two of the county’s most iconic ancient hills Hambledon and Hod and a stone’s throw from the river Stour means all our grounds are the perfect place to study geography.