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  Home > OUR FARM

Our farm is on the northern edge of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria.  The land is in three separate blocks, all within two miles of the farmhouse. Each block of land is very different, reflecting its previous management, underlying soil, altitude, aspect and exposure.

Our pastures
Our pastures contain a mix of grass species with some herbs and wild flowers and all but the really old natural pastures have a high clover content. Clover fixes atmospheric nitrogen, which is then available to sustain plant growth. By increasing the amount of clover in the sward we have been able to significantly reduce the amount of artificial fertiliser we need. 

All our land is classified as Less Favoured Area in agricultural terms and we are designated as Severely Disadvantaged – mainly because our adverse climate and altitude mean we have a short growing season. 

Farming WITH nature
As well as summer grazing and winter rations our land provides a variety of natural habitats - woodlands, wetlands, ponds, hedges and non-grazed areas. Having created many of these ‘wild’ areas we invest time managing them to ensure that they continue to provide ample feed and shelter for indigenous flora and fauna.
We also organise educational farm visits and participate in open farm schemes so that visitors can see how our business and livestock, and the ecology and environment work together. 

Our habitats

Our 210 acres include a number of small woodland areas, most planted in the early 1990’s soon after we bought the farm. We have mature hedgerows as well as hedges planted during our ownership and we've now started a programme of laying these hedges. We also have a few mature field trees, mainly Ash and Sycamore. A lot of our numerous drystone walls have been re-built over the last 10 years but each year we have to put up gaps and repair them, some are still in a poor state of repair but still provide livestock and wild animals with useful shelter from the elements. As well as areas left totally for wildlife (which we never graze or cut for forage) we also limit the grazing on several of our older meadows, some of which are rigged (ridged) and furrowed, giving ground nesting birds the opportunity to successfully breed and native wild flowers and grasses time to flower.

The plant Ragged Robin flourishes in our wet meadows when cutting is delayed until late summer. Given the high local rainfall our wetlands, ponds and the beck are key features. As well as being important for wildlife, our ponds also play a critical role in our pollution control. All the dirty water from our yards and from cleaning, after going through stone filters and a settlement lagoon.  It then passes through a series of 2 ponds and several open ditches before it reaches the beck, one of the tributaries of the River Eamont, now classifed by DEFRA as part of a Catchment Senstive Area.

In all, 10% of our land is managed for conservation and is not directly productive. However, we see lots of indirect benefits such as the shelter and shade for livestock and of course the diversity of wildlife encouraged by these habitats.

Our wildlife
By providing suitable undisturbed habitats for breeding and food for both summer and winter we are seeing growing numbers of wildlife species including several indicator species, a gauge of the health of our land.

Most obvious is the birdlife including curlew, lapwing and snipe.

Occasional sightings of a kingfisher or an otter fishing in one of our ponds give us a thrill as they indicate that their food chain is complete. Similarly we must have a good population of mice and voles scurrying around in the long vegetation as the buzzard, tawny owl, kestrel and sparrowhawk are usually about.

Of the larger mammals Roe deer, hare, rabbits, fox, badger and Red squirrels are present on the farm, fortunately no Grey squirrels as yet.

Organic status
Until recently around two-thirds of our farm was organically certified; and the Soil Association inspected the enterprise annually. It checked we were complying with its stringent standards from animal welfare to environmental management, and that we had records to prove it! We also managed the land that wasn't entered into organic conversion in a similar non-intensive manner. After a lot of deliberation we decided to cease being certified as organic, not because we want to make any marked changes to the way we farm. As a small unit involved in farming, meat processing, packaging and marketing we simply couldn't find the time to do that properly and also keep up to date all the extra paperwork required for the organic audit.
We can no longer officially claim organic status but you can be confident of the quality of our meat, the sensitivity of our animal husbandy and the care taken to protect the diversity of our farm environment. 

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FREE DELIVERY on orders over £100. Under £100 we charge £12 to cover the cost of the next day courier service. We have a minimum order value of £35 excluding delivery.  Please see Terms page for details.

Our next events and market's are:   JUNE - Fri 2nd - Grasmere Farmers Market; Sat 3rd Barnard Castle Farmer Market; Sat 10th - Orton Farmers Market; Fri 16th -Cartmel Local Producers Market; Sun 18th - Askham Hall Summer Fete; Tues 20th - Penrith Farmers Market; Sat 24th - Brampton Farmers Market; Fri 30th - Kendal Farmers Market. JULY - Sat 1st - Barnard Castle Farmer Market; Sat 8th - Orton Farmers Market.
For full details go to Where to Buy