Found in the wild Cheviot Hills of Northumberland our farm is a mixture of rugged grass hills and lowland pasture. Running from the river Breamish to the top of Old Fawdon hill our fine wool flock graze between ancient hill forts in an area steeped in history.
Managing the land holistically with a combination of organic and regenerative practices our aim is to enhance and protect the Natural Capital of our farm for future generations.
Life on Earth starts with the soil and we believe that properly managed livestock are key in developing, regenerating and maintaining healthy soils.
Our flocks grazing plan is designed to emulating the grazing patterns found in nature. Patterns that have been found to stimulate deep rooting grasses, increase biodiversity, aerate the soil, sequester carbon and build resilience to climate fluctuation through improved water storage.
But the work does not stop with just our sheep. We have planted thousands of trees and miles of hedgerows and linked wildlife habitats with safe, undisturbed corridors of cover across the farm.
Wildlife is at the very core of what we do on our farm. We aim not just to conserve biodiversity but improve it. Farming has shaped our hills for thousands of years and we recognise that our farmland birds and wildlife are adapted to live in a farmed environment. Our grazing strategies are designed to provide the habitat they require, creating swards of different heights, removing disturbance at certain times of the year and building a healthy soil full of life.
We are restoring and planting miles of hedgerows to act as wildlife corridors throughout the landscape, planting native broadleaf trees and creating wetland areas for the most iconic of Northumberland’s birds: The Curlew.
We haven’t been here long but through carefully planned conservational practices we are already seeing increases in biodiversity and the ecological health of our land.
With bee numbers rapidly declining in the countryside we decided to introduce four new hives three years ago.
Situating the new hives next to the flock’s pasture the wild flower meadows now buzz throughout the summer months as the bees collect nectar from far and wide. We harvest just a small sustainable harvest of the delicious light floral honey they produce, leaving plenty for the hives over winter.
Our honey is available each year at the end of the summer harvest from our website.
Planning for the Future
Planning and providing for the future has been a key sustainability strategy for our land. We are actively maximising carbon sequestration through managed grassland and new woodland planting, together with reducing our carbon emissions at every step.
Holistically we are preparing for the inevitable effects of climate changes, warmer temperatures and reduced rainfall by creating dew ponds and water collection wetlands for wildlife, planting drought resistant trees for cover and selecting grass species with longer tap roots to withstand the drops in the water tables during the summer months.
Sequestration of Carbon
With rapidly changing weather patterns and climates the effect of carbon emissions in the modern world cannot be underestimated.
Made of up to 50% organic carbon Wool is a naturally grown fibre derived from the digestion of plant material by sheep. Our wool is grown on extensive pasture systems where the diet is dominated by grasses and natural herbs. These plants capture carbon from the atmosphere and convert it into organic compounds through photosynthesis. This means that most of the carbon in our wool has been removed from the atmosphere in the last year as part of a natural, renewable system. The pastures our flocks graze also sequester carbon themselves and the improvements they bring to soil structure further increases the amount of carbon is locked into the earth, feeding soil biology.