Situated in one of the smallest villages in Kent, Rankins Farm was once part of the Linton Park estate, owned by Earl Cornwallis.
Linton village and its surrounding farms date back to the 1600s, when many of the estate’s workers were housed here. A kind and charitable man, Earl Cornwallis let his tenants buy their farms for much less than they were worth, enabling them to prosper.
Rankins Farm has been owned by the Sunnucks family since 1963. Until recently, it comprised 250 acres, the vast majority of which was dedicated to farming apples, pears, plums, rhubarb and raspberries. The farm supplied major supermarkets as well as the wholesale market and local farm shops.
In 2006, one of the barns was converted into the Old Wagon Lodge, which today is let to guests. In 2018, Rankins Farm will be extending its accommodation offering to include rural glamping pods.
Meet the Family
“I am the eldest of 4 siblings, 2 brothers and a sister. I have grown up, living and working at Rankins Farm and enjoyed working alongside my father on the farm helping out here and there always knowing this is what I wanted to do. My younger school years were spent at Underhill and Dulwich Prep School, before moving to Sutton Valance School for my secondary education.
Alongside farming, I have always been a keen sports player and pursued this throughout the majority of my life. At school I was always a part of the 1st teams in hockey and rugby and captained the schools cricket team. Since the age of 14, I have been a part of Marden Cricket and Hockey Club, playing both hockey and cricket, spending a few years as captain for the cricket. Although nowadays I don’t participate in the sports, I am still heavily involved in the club and have umpired, and supported over the last decade.
Since leaving school at 16, I joined my father working on the farm and over the last 15 years I have been running and managing it. Rankins Farm has changed and evolved since I was younger, including moving solely to a fruit farm back in 2004 and launching the new concept orchards in 2006. I have always loved farming so the decision to stop was a tough one although I still have a little involvement with the acres we have remaining, and will be kept busy with all the new exciting developments going on.
Scary (Sarah) and I always knew each other growing up and married in 1991, and had our two daughters (in 1993 and 1995).”
Sarah (although most people know me as Scary)
“I was bought up on a fruit farm alongside my elder brother in Horsmonden. My father managed and ran the farm and my brother with a keen interest in farming soon joined him. During my education I attended, Dewent Lodge, Leelands and Bedgebury. Whilst going on to attend finishing school in Winkfield and moving on to secretarial college.
When growing up I have always been a keen horse rider, riding for the majority of my life and having numerous horses throughout my school years. When at school I had a keen interest in sport and played lacrosse, netball, tennis and rounders. Although I no longer participate in these, I do enjoy watching my daughter play sport and attending different horse racing events around the UK.
After college I moved to London where I worked my way up the chain and ended up working for RCA/Columbia (now Sony) as the International Production Manager. I was in London for 11 years in total and lived in Fulham before moving to Paddock Wood and then Marden. I married Tony in 1991, and in 1993 we had our first daughter, Gemma, and our second, Annabel, in 1995, I decided to leave my job to raise our daughters. I then started working alongside Tony with the running of the farm, dealing with accounts, wages and day-to-day office operations. It’s going to be a change moving to the glamping pods however it’s exciting to have something new to work on, especially as we are doing it as a family.”
“I am the elder sister, and have grown up in our family home on Rankins Farm. Growing up I have loved being in the countryside and even now love spending the weekend in Kent. During my education I went to Underhill School followed by Invicta Grammar School in Maidstone. I attended sixth form at Invicta and subsequently went on to secure my place at Durham University studying Business and Management.
After University in 2014, I secured a role in a start-up company, jewellerybox.co.uk, in Bermondsey in London. I still work there and love what I do; I have grown with the company recently moving from customer service management across to business analyst, whilst still heading up the customer service management. Throughout my London life I have lived in Battersea, Clapham and now I am based in Balham.
Although I haven’t followed the sporting aspect of the family, I like to spend my spare time catching up with friends and family, drinking gin and brunching (bottomless of course), and who doesn’t enjoy the odd city break here and there?! I love the countryside and coming home down to Kent mainly because it definitely has the perfect surroundings for a good ol’ gin and tonic.
Although I love London life, I am excited for the new venture at home and look forward to being heavily involved in it all. One day I will definitely move back to the stunning Kent countryside.”
“By the time you’ve reached this bio, you’ve probably learnt I am the younger of the sisters, who also has grown up in our family home on Rankins Farm. It hasn’t been difficult developing my love for the outdoors when growing up, making mud pies and hunting for frogspawn were regular activites. I followed in my sisters’ footsteps also attending Underhill School followed by Invicta Grammar School in Maidstone. After sixth form at Invicta, I was successful in my application to Lancaster University studying Management and IT.
During my degree I completed a year in industry working for CA Technologies, a software company, before heading back to finish my degree. Post degree, I decided to take myself off travelling to Australia and New Zealand for 6 months to see what the world had to offer, for the record, the world has a lot to offer!
Similar to Gemma, you cannot beat a good alcoholic beverage or a tasty brunch, however, I did get the sporting genes and have always enjoyed participating in sport. I represented my school for tennis, rounders, netball and hockey. Outside of school I have always played hockey and have played a bit of netball too. When moving onto University I chose to play hockey and enjoyed doing that throughout my years there. Hopefully I can continue to play hockey within the near future, wherever I may be.
In 2018, I started work at an IT company, I have moved up to Manchester and am currently loving what I do. My current role is a technical project consultant and I am exposed to many different challenges and people. I am really enjoying living in the north but you can’t beat a weekend back at home. I am still continually involved with what’s going on at home and i’m excited to see what the future holds.”