farmer on the rural estate12/01/21

Craig and Ryan Baxter, Farming Partners on the Rural Estate

It won’t have escaped the notice of readers of the Parklife magazine that the Rural Estate is now alive with 250 Lleyn sheep! 

This is the first chapter of an exciting partnership between ourselves and Nene Park Trust, undeterred by the challenges of 2020 and the recent floods. At its heart, this is all about delivering truly sustainable livestock farming, in harmony with nature. This means protecting, preserving and improving the Rural Estate using breeds of livestock native to Great Britain, on pastures that are already rich with wildflowers, insects and wildlife.

This is an extensive farming system using natural forage, where sheep are healthy, happy and lamb outdoors, naturally. Sheep farmed in this extensive manner do a great job of improving soil fertility and structure, managing pasture which incorporates multiple grass and wildflower species for the benefit of insects and bees, and any lost wool will no doubt be picked up by birds as nesting material. 

The 250 Lleyn sheep that can be seen on the Normangate are all; we hope, expecting lambs in the spring. The sheep will be scanned on site to determine how many lambs each is expecting – this will take place in February and we will be able to tell you more once the results are in. 

Later this year, a small Hebridean flock will be coming onto the Rural Estate – these are charming little horned sheep that are fantastic for habitat restoration and management. We already use these in our work with the Wildlife Trust on restored quarry land and disused railway lines to do exactly that, and intend for these to be a permanent feature at Nene Park. 

Whilst shepherding on the Rural Estate, it has been great to see so many people getting out into the countryside, using the extensive network of footpaths to enjoy the outside space. Do give us a wave if you see either of us out and about – we look forward to updating you throughout the farming year as it unfolds. 

We only ask that you continue to enjoy the footpaths responsibly, with dogs on leads – it is important that the sheep enjoy a peaceful and safe pregnancy as the spring approaches.

Llyen sheep on the rural estate

To find out more about the Nene Park shared farming partnership take a look at page 6 in our autumn Parklife magazine.