I was born into farming, but Jacqui and I started our own farming business in 1989. From before I was old enough to go to school I would go on the farm with my father and if I had been allowed I wouldn’t have gone to school at all but just stayed on the farm. We started on 187 acres with Longleat Estate but soon learnt it was too small an acreage to earn a living from sheep. We now farm 287 acres with Longleat, another 2,200 with the M.O.D. plus other bits of short term grazing. We started converting some of the land to organic in 1999 to see if we could cope and slowly converted more and more until the whole farm became organic in 2007.

Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G)


My focus has always been on the breeding of the sheep, always striving to improve, and since 2008 the 200+ Devon suckler cows as well.

Next year we hope to breed from approximately 600 ewes, 550 Poll Dorsets and 50 Dorset Horns, they are the only native breed that can lamb at any time of the year, allowing us to sell new season lamb when others can’t. We have 500 acres in arable production growing organic oats for porridge and rye for bread.

The best job on the farm is always lambing and calving, although not always the easiest. Not only is it the thrill of new life, but also the result of your selective breeding programme.

Sheep are hard work and can be frustrating at times, but also rewarding when everything goes to plan, although that isn’t always the case. Our ewes come indoors at night to lamb but would spend the rest of the year outside grazing grass and in the late autumn root crops.

As we’re organic we try not to use too many treatments on the sheep. The ewes are wormed once a year, vaccinated twice and treated with fly strike prevention.

  • Years shepherding: 31
  • Location: Longleat
  • Flock size: 600

Since our son Joe came home we have expanded the flock and herd, and at the same time improved our cereal output, helped by the enthusiasm of youth. Along with Joe, we employ a stockman, tractor driver and a trainee. We also have a local lad who’s still at school in on Saturdays and another young person from Lackham Agricultural college on Sundays. Most of the grazing land with the M.O.D. is unfenced, so a large part of the work on the farm is temporary fencing for the livestock. We do everything ourselves on the farm except clamp silage and the shearing.

An average day for Joe starts at 6.30, when he checks the stock. Any animals on the training area have to be seen before 8 as we aren’t allowed on when they’re training. Depending on the time of year, if the ewes are running with rams we will have at least 20 groups of sheep and up to 10 groups of cattle. Just checking can take 3 to 4 hours. Then it will depend on the time of year; in the summer it maybe combining until dark, or more electric fencing, sorting sheep, T.B. testing cattle etc.

Wool is an amazing fabric, it’s semi waterproof, extremely good insulation, it can be made into numerous things and it’s natural. You shear the sheep and they grow it all back in 12 months. Why are the human race continuing to try and make second rate alternatives?


Wool produced
this season

It usually takes 2 shearers a couple of days to do the flock

Organic is surely the meaning of sustainable, what you take out you replace naturally.

We originally went organic because there was conversion aid at a time when our business was in need of some help, however it is the best thing we have done. We fully embrace the method of organic farming although you still have to keep learning.

Organic conversion of land takes two years. Livestock have to be not only born on organic land, but also conceived on organic land. All farming takes planning, but organic needs more. We try to alternate our grazing between the sheep and cattle, especially for the lambs, as it helps to keep some parasites at bay. The arable ground needs a good rotation so you put back some of the nutrients you take out.


Close the loop and find out what we made?

The Woolkeepers® initiative has captured both transparency and traceability in a unique wool assurance scheme which traces wool from farm gate to shop front. Our visibility within the supply chain ensures compliance with safety, sustainability and welfare requirements. Each time we process wool, we create a unique identifier which traces the batch back to farm, as well as forward to our customer.

This batch of wool went to a rural retailer bases in the heart of England to make home interior products.