On the brow of a hill overlooking the village of Islip, 1,000 lavender bushes in full bloom stir in the breeze. The only sound is the buzzing of bees. This peaceful plot is part of a five-acre piece of land called Jacobs Field.

Lista Cannon bought it five years ago with the aim of creating a resource for the whole community, a place where children and adults alike could come to enjoy nature, grow fruit, vegetables and flowers, and keep livestock and bees.

“Although I am the landowner I regard this as landshare,” Ms Cannon said, referring to the movement championed by chef and TV presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall that is bringing together people who have land with those who would like to cultivate it. “We are the stewards of this field,” she added.

To generate income for the project and for two hubs of the community — the local primary school and the volunteer-run village shop — Ms Cannon and volunteers Michèle Jacobs, Lin Cooper, Eric Jones and Julie Ross, have set up a small business called Jacobs Field Lavender.

They chose lavender because it is a tough and undemanding plant well-suited to the site’s stony soil and exposed situation.

“It is a really hardy crop. You do not need to do anything to it, apart from lots of weeding,” Ms Cooper explained.

Although much lavender sold in Britain comes from Provence in the south of France, it is a growing industry here, with lavender farms springing up everywhere from Argyll to Somerset.

Jacobs Field Lavender sells the beautiful deep blue variety Royal Velvet as bunches of cut flowers and Grosso as loose, dried flowers.

Because it has a high camphor content this latter variety is the most effective in keeping moths out of clothes.

The dried lavender is sold in whatever quantity is required and customers can also buy bags made using organic cotton to put it in.

These are sourced on a fair trade basis directly from a women’s co-operative in Ganeshpuri, near Mumbai, India, which Ms Jacobs is visiting this month to discuss future orders.

The large shed where the lavender is dried has a dual function.

During the summer children from Dr South’s Primary School in Islip come once a week to learn about the environment and to grow fruit and vegetables in raised beds and a fruit cage.

The beekeepers who tend the hives in one corner of the field teach them about the importance of insect pollination in nature and horticulture. Since 2010, when the bushes planted in 2007 matured, Jacobs Field has also been using essential oil from Grosso and another variety, Maillette, to make toiletries: hand wash, hand cream, body lotion and room spray.

These are packed in attractive bottles and jars that are the same shade of purple-blue as Royal Velvet.

The flowers for floristry and drying are cut by hand, but those for oil are harvested using a tea-cutter, a small machine specially imported from Japan. Last year the oil was extracted by the company Naturally Thinking, based in Carshalton, Surrey, but this year they will do it themselves.

“We are awaiting delivery of a small still, which will enable us to distill in the field,” explained Ms Jacobs. “The lavender will be in the still within minutes of being harvested.”

Naturally Thinking will continue to make up the toiletries for Jacobs Field.

The past few months have been spent testing the market by selling lavender and toiletries at Wolvercote and East Oxford farmers’ markets and in the village shop at Islip.

Ms Cooper has also been delivering cut flowers to the florist at Wimbledon station.

The response has been positive, with many customers liking the fact that the products contain oil from plants that are grown locally and without the use of any chemicals.

Many men have bought the products, as well as women.

Encouraged by the positive feedback, Jacobs Field plans to plant a further 1,000 plants, including some extra varieties — Folgate, for oil production, and Gros Bleu, for floristry; to develop the range of toiletries based on customer suggestions.

Possibilities include include face cream, shower gel and hair products which can then be sold through local independent shops.

Lavender used to have a rather old-fashioned image, being strongly associated with talcum powder, but is now one of the most widely-used oils in aromatherapy and massage, bringing many people relief from anxiety and insomnia.

“What is so powerful about lavender is its physical and emotional healing properties,” Ms Jacobs said.