The Cuthbert family came to Palace Farm Doddington in September 1936, Peter Cuthbert, Graham's Grandfather walked all the way from near Rye in Sussex where they had farmed for a few years, returning to Kent , leading a horse, wagon and animals, it rained all the way. Graham's father Henry and his brother Bill had a Raleigh Tri-car van and made several trips back and forth to bring all the small items.
They rented Home Farm from the Doddington Place Estate and set about acquiring a small dairy herd and a flock of sheep. Strawberries were planted and this family tradition continued for another seventy years, the Cuthberts became well known for their successes at The Cherry and Soft Fruit show held every year at The Kent County Show. In 1950 Palace Farm was bought, or at least 56 acres of it, Bill moved to Australia and Ashley left to farm on his own at Newnham. Foxenden Farm was rented in 1958 and the dairy herd moved there, Peter had by now passed away.
In 1966 Graham's father Henry and his brother John decided to dissolve the partnership, sell the dairy herd and John moved his family to a fruit only farm in the Weald of Kent. Henry continued to farm on his own, favouring fruit and vegetable crops.
Graham helped out when he could in school holidays and at weekends, in 1972 Graham left school and worked at home until he went to agricultural college for three years in 1974. During the summer of 1975 Graham worked in Canada for three months and much to the surprise of his parents Graham decided to return to the family farm in Doddington at the end of his training.
In 1993 whilst filling out forms for DEFRA and drawing up maps of the farm and all the public rights of way, we noticed how many footpaths there were and all the small country lanes. Often we had been told more tourism was needed in the Kent Downs, there had been a YHA Hostel near the village which closed around 1980. It was decided to convert our old farm buildings and open a hostel. We obtained planning permission in 1999 and after years of research, numerous courses, many nights hostelling in England and in Europe and desperate searching for grant funding, work started on the last day of October 2003, we opened Palace Farm Hostel at the beginning of June 2004. The campsite opened in 2007 after many requests for a campsite in Doddington. In 2009 we gave up the rented ground to concentrate on Palace Farm and the hostel and campsite. We decided that if we didn't convert the granary it would soon be beyond converting so work started in spring 2010, it was completed in April 2011.
Graham and Liz are very concerned that their activities on the farm are done in the most sustainable way possible. To that end they have worked hard to ensure that Palace Farm Hostel is as environementally friendly as possible as as result they have been awarded a Green Tourism Gold award for the hostel. Find out more about the Wildlife on Palace farm