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Summer at Woodside

Posted: Friday 17th July 2015 by WoodsideJon

Woodside Bull by Gavin HendersonWoodside Bull by Gavin Henderson

Summer is a great time to be a conservation farmer.

Summer on the farm

Summer is a great time to be a conservation farmer, plenty of grass growth means that our animals are well fed and we can see the fruits of our labours; this year at Woodside there has been a fantastic display of orchids - Bee, Common Spotted and Southern Marsh, no doubt contributed to by careful rotation of the fields to ensure the correct amount of grazing throughout the year.

It is not a time to be complacent however; the warm, dry weather brings its own challenges. Fly strike, an unpleasant condition where flies lay their eggs in the dirty wool of sheep is constant worry, as are intestinal worms. Good husbandry, including shearing the adult sheep and preventative observation, helps to ensure the animals welfare. A supply of drinking water is important all year, however this becomes essential during the summer as our ponds and ditches dry up. We don’t have any mains water at Woodside but are very grateful to the St Mary’s charity for funding a bowser, pump and troughs to help us keep our animals safe at this time of year.

Our lambs, born during April are growing well. This year we had a mixture of Jacobs, Gritstones and crosses between the two. The purebred ewe lambs will be kept as future breeding sheep. The remainder will be kept until the winter/next spring before being sold in our meat box scheme. Unlike commercial lambs, these are allowed to grow and mature slowly, being fed only grass and hay cut from our own meadows. It truly makes for a great tasting product, and by buying your lamb from us you are helping the Trust with its conservation work, why not order your box today?

The cattle fold has recently increased with the arrival of four Highlands, three pregnant cows and a bull. The bull, called Teddy, is an ex show animal, meaning not only is he of good confirmation he is also quiet and easy to handle, essential for an animal weighing well over half a ton! He will allow us to breed from our cows, ensuring the long-term viability of the project.

If you would like to discover more about our work at Woodside, why not join me on a guided walk on the evening of 5th of August. 

7pm – 9pm
£4 for adults, £2 for children
Meet in Pit Lane, Shipley, Heanor DE75 7JL by the green metal vehicle gate and bollards
Booking is eseential as places are limited. Tel 01773881188

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