Lavender fields revival

Lavender fields have returned to Surrey over 100 years after they were big business.
From the 18th to 20th centuries anyone standing on the hills of Chipstead, a village close to Banstead, Surrey could look towards London and see a sea of blue lavender fields. There were literally thousands of acres of lavender in the Woodmansterne/Carshalton/Mitcham/Croydon/Wallington area.

Now there are 25 acres owned by Lorna Maye, who together with her husband has done all the hard work of planting, mowing and harvesting to produce organic lavender oil. Alongside, several acres have been revived by BioRegional, a local sustainability group, who initially ran a project with Downview prisoners.

Visitors to the lavender fields which are on the Croydon Road between Banstead and Purley can pick their own lavender or buy bottles of the organic oil on site. The plants are organic meaning that no pesticides are used in their cultivation and they are also Soil Association certified.

The old fashioned connotation of old ladies with their bottles of lavender water and drawers of clothes smelling of lavender has been completely transformed. Lavender oil is now a hugely popular aromatherapy oil and is used in a variety of health and beauty products worldwide.

Lavender oil has plenty of uses:

• It has relaxing properties and a few drops on a tissue can you help you sleep
• A few drops in the bath are great for relaxing
• It is antiseptic and can be put neat on spots, bites, cuts or burns – do a skin test first to check you aren’t allergic
• It is effective for bruising or bumps – a few drops diluted in water can be applied on a compress
• Diluted in water it can ease skin rashes or sunburn
• It can be put on the wrist pulse points to keep you calm
• It can be burned in an oil burner to make a room smell nice and to release calming vapours
• It is astringent and moisturising and a few drops can be used in a carrier oil on the skin to hydrate and wake it up
• Carry it around with you and you can use it to cover up unpleasant smells!

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