Farming with Nature
We are passionate about farming our flocks in an ethical and sustainable way. We shun the use of pesticides, fertilizers and chemical inputs in favour of a holistic farming approach. Instead of fighting nature we see our sheep as part of the wider Dartmoor ecosystem, playing a key role in regenerating topsoil, increasing biodiversity and enhancing the habitats around them.
We farm to organic principles and are members of the Pasture for Life association and all our sheep are 100% pasture fed. Unlike most flocks we never use any supplementary feed. Feed is often made from imported cereals and soya that have grown from the result of deforestation or on land that could have been used to grow much needed crops for human consumption. By only grazing local Dartmoor pasture our sheep are healthier, happier and grow naturally at their own pace without negatively impacting the environment.
Our commitment to the environment has recently led us to reinstate hedgerows across our land that were ripped out in the 1900s during the post war industrialisation of agriculture. Reinstating these hedgerows on our land is not only benefitting the wildlife and creating habitat corridors but is also helping us on our mission to holistically graze our sheep. We have reseeded many of our fields with herbal leys to give our sheep a more balanced diet. These herbal leys also help to improve the diversity on our land to benefit the wildlife. We are also in the process of creating wild flower meadows and are already housing beehives on our land. This year we are also planting out an orchard and adding in land trees to our fields to help with soil erosion and to provide our sheep with more shade is the warmer months.
When you shop with The Dartmoor Shepherd you are not only supporting native rare breed sheep but you are also supporting us in our mission to farm regeneratively and restore habitats on our land. You can find out more about our wildlife projects on our blog.
- Bean Bags - £14.95 GBP
- Sheep Skin Items - £5.00 GBP
- BBQ & Taster Boxes - £8.50 GBP
- Hogget & Mutton Boxes - £9.85 GBP
For as long as he can remember Lewis Steer always wanted to be a farmer, however, not coming from a farming background this proved a real challenge especially with no family farm to fall back on and rented land in short supply. As a reward for doing well in his GCSE's Lewis was given 3 Greyface Dartmoor ewes by his parents which he kept on their smallholding of 13 acres. Lewis pursued his dream by attaining a degree at The Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester whilst building up his flock of rare breed Dartmoor sheep back home in Devon.
Flora Searson grew up in the heart of Dartmoor in Chagford and developed a flare for media during secondary school which she pursued by attaining a degree in Creative Media Practice at Bath Spa University. Whilst studying, Flora made frequent trips home to Dartmoor where she slowly began to learn the ancient profession of shepherding by helping Lewis with his expanding flocks. Having met in a small café in Chagford aged 16 and then attending different Universities, Lewis and Flora were keen to return home together on the completion of their degrees to create a local, sustainable and high quality farm company, and so The Dartmoor Shepherd came into being.
As their flocks expanded they needed to start renting more land around Dartmoor. Having not come into farming the traditional way they have had to approach it completely differently by diversifying. Instead of selling their lamb to a market they sell direct to the public. They are passionate about local, ethical food and want to enlighten people with the importance and wondrous qualities of wool again, by allowing them to buy direct from the shepherd.
They began using the unique sheepskin rugs from their rare breed flocks (a bi-product of their hogget and mutton) to make into products, which they now sell online, at shows and events across the country and in their retail shop in the centre of Chagford. In 2021 they completed the building works for their Workshop and Woolshed on some of their rented land in Chagford thanks to very supportive landlords. The team has now grown to 7 people who work on the farm, in the shop and stitch the products.
Sara and Bethan (and Trevor the dog) joined The Dartmoor Shepherd team in August 2021. They stitch and help design all the sheepskin products at our on farm workshop in Chagford.
Verity joined the team in 2021 and works in The Dartmoor Shepherd shop in Chagford. Verity also answers all of our online enquiries.
Jo and Ben joined the team in March 2022 as farm interns. They are completing a course in regenerative farming at The Apricot Centre and The Dartmoor Shepherd is their placement farm. They have spent their time immersed in the farm life and have been crucial in implementing our new orchard and hedgerows.
Handmade on Our Farm
Our making begins on the hills of Dartmoor in April, normally at 3am with sideways rain as we lamb our flocks. Our lambs are then kept with their mothers until August when they begin to self wean. Our ewe lambs are kept and brought into our flock and our ram lambs go for hogget (the stage after lamb) the following year. Our sheepskins are then tanned in Britain’s oldest tannery, on Dartmoor before returning to our on farm workshop. Our products are then handcrafted in our workshop in Chagford, Dartmoor where Sara and Bethan stitch our sheepskin products on the land where the sheep graze. This gives our products full traceability and cuts our production distance from miles to yards. We value origin and the environment above all else from the farming in fields right through to our finished products.
My name is Moss, Flora and Lewis got me in July 2018 when I was just 8 weeks old. I have learnt a lot about working with sheep and have even been to sheepdog school on Dartmoor. I am told I am very useful with moving the sheep between our blocks of ground. My two favourite things are sheep and tennis balls!