We are Simon and Jacqueline Saggers the current generation of the Saggers family who have lived and worked in Bassingbourn since the 1600s.
Having drawn up various plans and thrown numerous ideas around, the real hard work began in October 1999 when we bought two hectares (five and a half acres) of farmland and embarked on the lifelong task of creating Guilden Gate.
Our vision is to create an integrated, sustainable smallholding. We see our role not as agricultural factory managers, overseeing a production line but as an integral part of a living smallholding.
To achieve this we have created a mixed mosaic of native hedging, wild flower meadows, coppice woodland, vegetable fields and fruit orchards that yield vegetables, herbs and fruit. The object is not to produce a huge yield of one crop but to create a rich, diverse and interconnected smallholding ‘eco-system’.
Our design plan for Guilden Gate has sustainability as its guiding principle and aims to close as many resource cycles as possible. The cottage we have built is at the ‘heart’ of both the holding and the sustainable design. The cottage includes materials, technology and environmentally sensitive concepts that we hope offer a new vision for the country cottage in this new millennium.
The smallholding meets its water requirements through rainwater harvest and a borehole. We have also installed a complete recycling system for our greywater. This comprises of straw and bark filters vertical and horizontal flow reed beds as well as a solar pond and a willow trench soakaway. We are not on mains sewerage as we have a dry twin vault compost toilet.
Guilden Gate independently generates its own net energy needs from renewable resources. The sun, when it shines, heats our water and our wind turbine meets our electricity requirements. The woodland, planted in 1999, will provide all our wood for heating. Our energy conservation when combined with the provision of our own energy, means, Guilden Gate is a net zero C02 emissions site.
The holding aims to keep external inputs to a minimum and minimise the creation of waste. We re-use and recycle as much as possible on site. No GMOs are used or consumed at Guilden Gate.