We had a fantastic visit to Cloverbank Lamb Farm last week near Rode Heath. Jane and Brian who relocated to this site 11 years ago gave a great background history to their eco house and organic farming methods.
They rotate annually the grazing of their ‘Lleyn’ sheep and ‘Aberdeen Angus’ cattle on the clover rich meadows which adds flavour and aids digestion. They also home 8 donkeys which Jane said are great ‘stress busters!’ The ewes are kept for up to 4 years, each season producing 1 or 2 lambs which are utilised between 3 and 12 months old.
Part of being organic means that the livestock have plenty of open spaces to graze, no chemical drenches or fertilizers and 3 times the normal gap period following any approved antibiotic treatments before an animal can be processed.
The farm has an annual Soil Association Inspection and also is approved by the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme.
The family designed and built their eco house as ’round facing’ so they could enjoy all the different aspects including a decking area over their own pond and extensive garden adjacent to where the livestock graze. Having tracking solar panels and a wind turbine means they are 90 % energy self sufficient. They also grow the majority of their own fruit and veg and have recently added additional raised beds which were the envy of many of our green fingered visitors!
Following the talk we wandered around the beautiful gardens and pond where herons, stoats, mink and ducks all co-exist. We all then had a well deserved rest from the heat with a scrummy afternoon tea of homemade chocolate cake, Amuse cakes and scones served with Newton’s Gawsworth dairy cream and Willington Fruit Farm apple juice. Although there was no lamb on the menu there’s still plenty still to buy from at F4MD online!