Our earliest record of Church Field is in an 1839 legal document that converted tithe payments to rent-charge. At this time it was in the private ownership of Baronet Sir Philip Bowers Vere Broke, and sub worked by John Dawson.
In 1949, the land, of around 2 acres, was sold by The Right Honourable James St. Vincent Broke, Baron De Saumarez, to Hodsoll Walter Hurlock and Felix Clement Smith, the latter becoming the subsequent sole owner. In 1982, upon his death, part of the land was legally transferred, with conditions and in perpetuity, to Levington and Stratton Hall Parish Council. In general, this was for recreational use that also respected and preserved the surrounding natural environment.
Church Field forms a delightful setting, which links St Peter’s Church to neighbouring privately owned Levington Meadows that slope to the River Orwell.
To the East it adjoins a public footpath, on private land, which is opposite The Ship Inn, and is known as Pilots’ Way. At one time this had elm trees alongside, which formed the boundary of Church Field. As these became diseased, they were replaced in the late 1990s by a line of green beech trees. This was after a village meeting, and all the trees were sponsored by individuals.
The fence, which runs between the Field and Church Lane, was erected in 2004, and was funded by a donation from the Village Lunch Club.
To the West of the field is a small copse, known as Tricker’s Wood. In 2005 various suckers were removed and replaced by native species, Field Maple, White Poplar, Sweet Chestnut and Hazel. All cut wood has been formed into piles for insect use (Stag Beetles are to be found in this area).
A villager using the family tractor and mower regularly cuts the grass in Church Field, but two ribbon strips are left along two boundaries so that the grass can grow long for the benefit of wildlife.
The Parish Council manages Church Field in accord with the Management Plan adopted by the Council in March 2005, after consultation with residents. This results in careful maintenance to preserve the natural environment, habitat and seasonal changes, whilst allowing for non-intrusive village use. To view the Management Plan, please use the link below (please note this will open in a new browser window):
Church Field Management Plan (.pdf, 19.1MB)