Situated amongst 80 acres of grassland, wetland and woodland, Stoneygate Farm provides a unique environment for our native breed cattle, rare breed pigs and native breed sheep.
Our Beef Shorthorn and British White cattle spend the summer months roaming outside, grazing in our pastures and are then brought inside for the winter months. The herd can do a substantial amount of damage to the ground in the wet conditions of a typical Yorkshire winter, so by bringing them inside during the winter months, we are able to minimise the damage and make sure the pastures are ready for them to enjoy once again come spring. The herd produces calves all year round, which will be raised on the farm and eventually fattened to be sold in the farm shop. Some of the female calves, known as heifers, will be kept for future breeding.
The woodland on our farm is the perfect dwelling for our small herd of Tamworth rare breed pigs. They are free to roam the woodland all year long, living in arcs bedded with straw, making them truly free-range. We have Boris, the stock boar and are lucky enough to welcome piglets throughout the year which are raised outdoors, in their woodland haven, and then fattened to be sold in the farm shop while some of the female pigs, gilts, will be kept for future breeding.
Thanks to our little flock of native breed Herdwick sheep, spring is always a very busy time here at Stoneygate! Lambing normally starts around the beginning of April and finishes by the end of May. The sheep and their lambs happily graze our pastures all year round but in winter, we may need to supplement their grass-diet with hay or silage.
We are immensely proud of our livestock and hope that, thanks to our breeding programme, these native breeds will continue to thrive at Stoneygate. We are also firm advocates of sustainable farming and operate on a very low input system, trying to minimise the impact on the land from our farming activities.
In addition to our livestock, we are lucky to welcome a huge variety of other wildlife to the farm throughout the year and are committed to working in harmony with nature, so that we might encourage them to stay.
The wetland areas on the farm are naturally spring fed and have been fenced off in order to develop a natural habitat for these animals to enjoy. On the pond, we often see ducks and geese, along with their broods of ducklings and goslings each spring, as well as wigeon, teal, greylag geese, Canada geese, and herons. Oyster catchers have also been known to drop by for a visit.
The woodland, already home to our pigs, is also managed carefully in order to encourage wildlife. Consisting of a wide range of tree species including ash, oak, hawthorn, holly, pine, sycamore, beech and birch, the woodland presented us with a perfect place for our nesting boxes which can house birds of all sizes. We frequently see or hear our resident woodpeckers, often spot hare, rabbits or moles and are even treated to the occasional roe deer sighting.