The National Herb Centre was established in 1997 by Peter Turner ( a former Chairman of the British Herb Trade Association), with the aim of providing everyone with an opportunity to see, enjoy and learn about herbs.
At the time, nobody was carrying out any research work or projects to develop the industry and he took it upon himself to build the centre to undertake projects required by the industry. The name was chosen with the full support of the British Herb Trade Association.
He employed a doctor of science with long experience in horticulture and an agronomist. A wide range of projects were undertaken including selecting and examining herbs which it was felt had potential for UK production, and could compete or improve on the quality of imported produces. Growing requirements to provide consistency results were established, while working with the engineering industry, harvesting and processing equipment was developed. We attempted to obtain funding by various institutes to fund the work.
In recent years projects have now been undertaken by universities and government bodies and funding has been drastically cut back, and as a result this research work is no longer carried out here at the centre. The Garden Centre and Bistro were built to add additional income to support the funding in an attempt to keep the business viable and are now being run by his two sons.
One of the major projects involved investigations into the properties of Rosemary and trials were carried out using huge variety of different Rosemaries, many of which can be found around the centre today.