Patrick & Charmain

My earliest memories are being with my dad, helping him with the sheep and cattle

We rent 300 acres of permanent grass in Dorset and own arable land in Hampshire. My family have been farming for over 150 years. I did think about training to be a vet, but decided to stick with the family businesses and the farm. This is really where my heart lies.

Its myself and my partner Charmain who works the farm every day. We contract out shearers and pregnancy scanners at certain times of the year.

On our Dorset site we focus on the sheep and a small herd of suckler cows. The arable side of the business is run separate. We lamb around the mark of 800 ewes and have mainly got continental x’s and natives. We like to use texel, beltex x and dorset rams. We graze the flock on permanent pasture and then turnips in the winter. This allows for efficient use of land and nutrition for the flock.

We’ve learnt to understand livestock genetics in order to produce good carcasses whilst trying to eliminate health issues.

The most enjoyable part I find working with sheep is producing top quality carcasses, which has been proven and rewarded with placings in different competitions. Most of the routine tasks give you the ‘that’s a good job done’ feeling. Lambing is the busiest and hardest time but also very rewarding because it’s what you have worked towards all year; especially if you have lambs that struggle to survive at the start, but, with your care and attention they are soon out with the others.

My flock are a great combination of ewes and rams which produce the best quality of the carcass. All our sheep are run on a low input system. This doesn’t mean they are left to fend for themselves, it means we give them all the care they need but with using as little medication as we can etc which in turn is healthier for the flock as it helps them build stronger immune systems, allowing drugs to work with a better effect when used. Also we feed little amounts of concentrate foods, meaning they survive well on grazing alone, be it on good quality grass or turnips in the colder months.

I’ve noticed that over the past 10yrs there are more medicines that are more precise for specific issues, which in turn helps with non-resistances. We’ve also sadly noticed that larger numbers of stock are needed to earn small income.

The hardest part working with sheep is for sure the lambing! It’s very long hours and hard work. However afterwards, we find it rewarding, especially when you look out to see all the healthy off spring. Every so often nature throws in its weight around causes us problems but we pull together and work through it. Lambing 2018 was a difficult one for us as we had just started when Beast from the East hit us. Snow, ice and high winds was the last thing we needed as we lamb semi outside. It was only myself and Charmain working through at this time, we didn’t leave the sheep for a few days, well only to stock up on food and fuel, we slept in our trucks albeit for an hour or so at a time. There was definitely blood sweat and tears shed, I remember about 3am one morning just thinking what on earth are we doing and wanting to give up but with our hard work and determination we got through and managed to keep all lambs alive. We couldn’t have got through it without each other.

  • Years Shepherding: 25 years
  • Location: Blandford Forum
  • Flock size: 1600

We are really happy that the wool is being finally recognised after a long lull.

It’s a natural by-product that comes from our farm business, so why not make use of it, it’s so versatile.

Now that the Woolkeepers initiative is up and running, consumers are able to authenticate traceable wool and to know the background behind what they are purchasing. This allows us the farmers to present them with the high standard of welfare the animals are receiving.

It takes 3 full days to shear the flock and the sheep appear happy afterwards. This responsibility is really part of the 5 animal freedoms; freedom from discomfort, freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behaviour, freedom from fear and distress.

1600
KG

Wool produced
this season

It takes 3 full days to shear the flock and the sheep appear happy afterwards.

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 Hypnos Wool Origins Range

Hypnos are a long-established family business with an illustrious Royal history to be proud of. And they pour it all back into our design and craft to hand build the most comfortable beds in the world. Hypnos has taken the next step in its commitment to sustainability by partnering with Red Tractor Food and Farming standards in an industry first that has seen the brand create the pioneering Origins Collection. This range of mattresses uses the most responsibly sourced materials possible, including 100% British wool that’s traceable right back to Red Tractor assured farms.

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