In 2007 when Alan retired from the Highland & Islands Fire and Rescue Service, we made the big decision to leave Milifach, situated near Kirkhill, not far from Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. We moved to a smallholding called Glenrootes in Surfleet, in the South Lincolnshire Fens. Situated on the River Glen about five miles north of Spalding, the “Heart of the Fens”. This is a world where we can be closer to our family in Suffolk. Breed Hebridean sheep and Free Range Poultry, grow food and rely on our own endeavours.
On our arrival, Glenrootes was a neglected and run down smallholding, albeit on very fertile Grade 1 arable silt land. Since then, over 10 years ago. We have invested in dividing up and fencing the paddocks. Improved grassland management. As well as planting native hedges around the property perimeter. To create a milder micro climate to protect the smallholding from the notorious “Fen Blow”. We also continue to invest a lot of time and effort in cleaning out and maintaining our drainage dykes. An extremely important feature in this part of the country.
The hedging is not only protecting our livestock and vegetable garden, it is also becoming a haven for wildlife. We hope that, in time, it will be an additional benefit in the form of an impenetrable stock-proof barrier.
We aim to make our farm wildlife friendly and environmentally sustainable, growing our own fruit and vegetables, growing, harvesting and storing hay for the animals’ winter feed, with a large mixed flock of free range poultry. Eggs are always available for local passers-by.
We practise a successful method of grassland management, using selective grazing. We never need to reseed our paddocks or use herbicides or pesticides. Our animals provide all the natural fertiliser needed. We aim to put more into the land than we take from it. The wide variety of plant species available in the pastures is very much appreciated by our growing flock of Hebridean sheep.