• THE STORY OF THE FARM

    Sustainable farming and high quality, high welfare produce in harmony with nature.

Manor Farm, Broad Chalke is situated in the heart of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Down Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and extends across 300 acres of the beautiful and ancient landscape of the Chalke Valley.

Our sustainable farming approach

The farm is run as a traditional mixed farm with arable crops grown on the tops of the downs while our organic, native breed sheep flock grazes the steep coombes, valley floors and permanent pasture.

This combination is enhanced with wildlife friendly headlands, bird food and nesting plots and thereby provides a mosaic of habitats that encourages wildlife and allows species to travel across the farm. Our downs are rich with a diverse array of native flower species including orchids and other less common species such as Broom Rape and are largely classified as Sites of Special Scientific interest (SSSI’s). This diversity in turn supports a vibrant and varied population of pollinators, including the rare Adonis Blue butterfly, and mammals including species that are in decline, such as hare, hedgehogs and harvest mice.

In order to maintain this diversity we employ an extensive grazing system – running just 220 breeding ewes and their lambs over 200 acres of grassland. This extensive system allows us to rear high quality lamb, hogget and mutton on grass and herbs alone.

With low numbers we are also able to maintain superior flock welfare while minimising use of medicines such as wormers and antibiotics.

Organic Farming

Organic Farmers and Growers certify our sheep enterprise and we are proud of having reduced our grassland chemical inputs to zero whilst maintaining output thanks to a considered grazing regime. 

In addition we have managed to control our weed burden, which was considerable in 2010, through both mechanical and manual methods. It is wonderful to see the abundance of butterflies and small mammals that are benefiting from this improvement.

From a livestock point of view we inherited grassland that was known to be ‘sheep sick’ or parasite infested after years of being rented to a plethora of graziers.  Our initial growth rates were pitiful and totally disheartening, lambs did not thrive but with careful pasture management, an extensive grazing regime and diligent animal husbandry we are now rearing healthy sheep on a 100% pasture fed diet.

We have trialled various breeds of sheep including the old fashioned Wiltshire Horn, the classic North of England mule and welsh Lleyns.  For the first time this year we have bought some South Down rams, this is traditional British breed and we are looking forward to seeing how their lambs grow next year.

 

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