Daphne has lived in Surrey for 40 years and in Ashtead for 25. With her husband, in 1990 she purchased an approximately 45 acre parcel of land from the estate of the late Lord Barnby with a view to retaining and managing the land under one ownership. The upper large fields have been used for grazing horses and the lower meadows for very light grazing of horses, and occasionally sheep.
The lower meadows , extending to some 14 acres, form a relatively narrow strip 800 metres long which is bisected by the Rye Brook, a tributary of the River Mole. It is on a designated flood plain and is ideal for creating a range of diverse habitats for wild life. There are two public footpaths which cross the Rye Brook so that the planned enhancements will be visible to those using the footpaths.. It is hoped that over the next three years, with the help of Stefanie, Helen, Ruth, Luke and Jim and many volunteers, to plant a Jubilee Wood, clear the Rye Brook and create as many habitats as possible along this important corridor for wildlife which is part of a link between the commons of Fetcham, Bookham and Ashtead.
On a personal note, Daphne trained as a nurse, midwife and health visitor. After full time employment she concentrated on charity work with young families (Relate) and the older generation (Exercise for the Elderly). While all of this was very rewarding it did not, she says, prepare her for the challenges of managing a small estate. "It has been an interesting journey and I am delighted to have gathered together a team of very enthusiastic young people who will help me to create what I hope will be a lasting ecological development for the preservation and enhancement of wildlife in the area and an amenity which will preserve unspoilt an area of Ashtead which has changed little in the last three to four hundred years."