From the Global Hazelnut Sector to the Garden of England

Kent cobnut plat Roughway farm Oast house

about the project

Kentish hazelnut production has a long history. Cultivation of hazelnut variants known as Kentish Cobnuts have led to unique landscapes within the county and across the country.

Preserving this industry is important for the rural economy and environment. Natural England Technical Note TIN013 highlights that Kentish Cobnuts are considered to be a ‘traditional orchard’ and contribute to the landscape mosaic of rural England and have significant cultural, wildlife and historic interest. Many traditional orchards (known as Plats) have been lost to neglect, grubbing up and development. Cobnuts are also a UK source of food for Red Squirrel projects.

The project will seek to discover more about:

  • Market & Policy Environments
  • Farming Practice & Approaches
  • Diversification & Value-added initiatives
  • Communities & Local Economies
  • Marketing & Preservation

The overall aim of the project is to make sure that the humble Kentish Cobnut remains a well marketed product that is popular with the buying public. 

Find out more below and over the coming months.


The Trip

The research trip will be carried out in two stages according to the seasons.

Northern Hemisphere 2019

Southern Hemisphere 2020


Stage 1


Stage 2


Stage 3


Stage 4

New Zealand

Stage 5

Part 2 (Australia & New Zealand) begins in....

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about the WCMT

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust runs the Churchill Fellowships, a unique programme of overseas research grants. These support UK citizens from all parts of society to travel the world in search of innovative solutions for today’s most pressing problems. 

Every year WCMT award 150 Fellowships. These fund outstanding individuals to travel for 4-8 weeks, anywhere in the world, researching a topic of their choice among global leaders in their field. On their return, we help them to share their global learning with professions and communities across the UK.

Tom’s project is in the Rural living: strengthening countryside communities category that examines the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

To apply for your own fellowship and to find out more head to the WCMT Website.



Trip Blog

Find out about and follow the trip

Blog Coming soon!

Stay tuned for photos, write-ups and images from this global …


About Tom

Tom is the third generation involved in his family farm at Roughway Farm in Kent, launching the farm online to provide fresh produce directly to the consumer. Until very recently he represented residents at the local Borough Council, he also has a full time Marketing career and is the Treasurer of the Kentish Cobnuts Association. He has also previously written for The Daily Telegraph. He studied BA History and Politics and received a full scholarship for his MA in Modern British History at the University of East Anglia. 



Churchill Fellow


Trip Objectives

Some of the trips core objectives.
Market & Policy Environments

Gain a clear picture of their market & policy environments

Farming Practice & Approaches

Learn about different approaches to hazelnut farming.

Diversification & Value-added

Find out about hazelnut diversification and value added approaches

Communities & Local Economies

Discover local initiatives and how these factors have enhanced local economies and communities

Marketing & Preservation

Ultimately, I want to make sure that the humble cobnut remains a well marketed product that is popular with the buying public and thus preserves the industry.


Why Cobnuts Are important


Traditional Orchards

A unique Kentish landscape. 


An excellent Nutritional Profile

Cobnuts contain a range of vitamins and are an excellent source of fibre and protein. Find out more about cobnuts. 


Tasty and Versatile

Cobnuts are very versatile. Partly due to how the kernel evolves from when eating green to the sweeter drier kernel. Roughway Farm has a range of cobnut recipes to try.



Opportunities for diversification and value added. 


A UK Feed Source

Cobnuts are a UK source of food for Red Squirrel projects. While feed can be imported, sometimes Kent cobnuts become a critical source of food. In addition, conservation projects like to use cobnuts in public displays.


If you can help with the project or would like to get in contact with Tom please email or get in contact via social media.