Our Bagot Goats are on the Rare Breed Survival Trust ‘at risk’ register so we are trying to help conserve and save this very special breed. They are thought to be the UKs oldest breed with only 200 or so breeding females (nannies) in the UK. Our herd started with a breeding trio from the Cotswold Farm Park (Adams’ Farm on Countryfile). We see them as our natural weed control and they roam the farm (we have given up trying to contain them) as a family group eating hedgerow plants, thistles, other ‘weeds’ - ivy being their favourite! They are happiest when they are in our old quarry or clambering over a barn roof to reach the latest tasty shoot. They live outside all year round but in poor weather you can often find them sheltering in a hedgerow, under a trailer or occasionally they may take themselves into one of our old barns. We do have registered kids available; both (castrated) males (known as whethers) and females (nannies) and they make fantastic conservation grazers.
All our grass-fed beef is Devon Red Ruby, a slow-growing breed native to Exmoor. Our Red Ruby cattle are 100% grass-fed for their entire lives and slowly grown until they naturally reach maturity at around 31-36 months old. Our herd started with heifers from the award-winning Forde Abbey herd and we specifically selected this herd because they still have ‘small’ animals. We prefer these smaller, more traditional cattle because they do better on our hill-side pasture, they are able to calve themselves, outside, with minimal intervention from us and, being that little bit smaller than commercial breeds they are able to stay outside throughout the winter without ruining the wonderful pasture we have. We are building our herd up slowly over the next few years with our ambition being 10 breeding heifers. Slow growing native breeds and farming in harmony with nature helps us to achieve consistent taste, texture and excellent marbling in all our grass-fed Red Ruby beef. All of our beef is hung on the bone for at least three weeks, to develop a wonderfully rounded depth of flavour.
We keep a flock of 15 breeding Exmoor horn ewes but our aim is to grow this to 30. We selected this native UK breed because of their ability to do well in harsh conditions and on hill pasture. Our farm climbs to just over 1,000 feet so in Winter this can give some interesting conditions! As with our cattle, our sheep are run on a grass-based system. Our lambs are never fed grains and grow at their own rate on their mother's milk and grass. This ensures our lamb has a positive impact on the environment by limiting emissions through not feeding grains and ensures our lamb boxes are of high nutritional content. In the winter we graze our goats, cattle and sheep using a system called ‘bale grazing’. We leave our summer cut hay bales in the fields it has been cut from and allow our livestock to graze it over the winter. This reduces the amount our tractors have to go onto the land in winter (reducing emissions and soil compaction) and means that lots of grass seeds continue to increase the biodiversity of our native hay meadows. Finally, by not having the bales in the same place over winter our livestock naturally fertilise the ground with their manure creating wonderful habitats for stag beetles and other decomposers! It does mean we ‘lose’ more hay than a more commercial system but we believe the benefits outweigh the cons.
As with our goats, these are on the Rare Breed Survival Trust watchlist but the pigs are classified as ‘priority’. With only 250 breeding sows left, it’s Britain’s only all-black pig and is regarded as being rarer than the Siberian tiger. Our three breeding sows and one boar spend all of their lives outside, they have a large barn they sleep in but they prefer to be foraging in their field eating nuts, berries, worms and other goodies they find. We believe the meat to be flavoursome and has a deep, rich colour as a result. We occasionally have piglets available (please contact us) and sausages available through our meat box scheme.
Lamb boxes – delivered in the UK – £100 (not Scottish Highlands and islands I am afraid)
Beef Boxes, Sausages, Sheepskin Rugs
Buying direct from us enables you to buy your meat direct from our farm. This means a lower carbon footprint and complete traceability. All of our animals are born on our farm and graze in our fields under our beech and oak trees. They are grass fed; we don’t feel the need to supplement their diet as they thrive on our land without us interfering in their natural growth.