Farming with Nature
We are passionate about farming our flocks in an ethical and regenerative 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 (but are currently unable to convert to organic as much of our land is on grass keep and not tenanted). We 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 (with no till methods) 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. In 2022 we held a community planting day on the farm where we planted an apple orchard. We have also planted native broadleaf trees such as English Oak, Red Oak, Breech, Holly, Blackthorn, Wild Cherry, Silver Birch etc. By adding in land trees to our fields we are helping to prevent soil erosion and are providing our sheep with more shade in the warmer months and shelter in the winter.
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 instagram.
Working with the River Teign Restoration Project
We have been working with the River Teign Restoration Project for a few years now. They advise us on how best to farm our fields that boarder the river Teign, to support the wildlife in the river and its banks. They also hold educational workshops for the public on our farm and use our facilities and stretch of river. To find out how to join one of their future workshops on our farm follow them on instagram or visit thier website.