Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Working with Nature

We’ve been visiting this part of Devon for many years, having our summer holidays here for the last 14 years; with each passing year we’ve noted the village of East Portlemouth  struggled to keep its community vibrant (no criticism intended, we know  a committed team work hard at many events) but the fact is there are less villagers and more holiday homes,  as an older generation passes. Indeed Mr Uphilldowndales aunt N was one of that community

So it was very exciting to see (and hear)  a new vibrancy to the village that has been brought my new tenants of the farm that wraps itself around the village, the aptly named Village Farm. The farm has lain unworked for a number of years and now its not so much being worked, as nourished, regenerative farming ;  delivered with an infectious enthusiasm and acres of passion.  I could try and describe their work, but I couldn’t do it as eloquently or a knowledgably,  So I’ll send you to the website of Village Farm,  do watch the video.

They use a method of grazing called ‘mob grazing’ a large number of animals, sheep in this case, in a small area of land for a short period of time, you’ll have to believe me if I tell you there are 800 in here somewhere…  happily and noisily munching away.

Village farm 10

Here they are coming down the village, with resident neighbours willingly mucking in with traffic and sheep herding (no dogs were used)

Village farm 7

They can move at quite a pace

Village farm 8

A view from the other side of the estuary gives an idea of what’s involved, this field, which will house the Field of Light, later in the year was grazed over three days

Village farm 11

Then it was time to move on to pastures new, with the sheep back off up the village again.

Village farm 3

The photographs on Village Farm’s facebook page are gorgeous, the sort of work that oozes from knowing your subject, field skills and, as mentioned,  acres of passion .

(We can’t wait to see the pigs next year).


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Thirty days wild. June 29th

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

I particularly like this grass,  there is something about the rhythm of it, it reminds me of a zip fastener…

zip grass


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Thirty days wild. June 26th

 

 

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

Given how hot it is, I imagine it feels good to be sheared.

sheep sheared_


2 Comments

Thirty days wild. June 15th

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_15

 

When the weather doesn’t know if its blowing hot or cold, I suppose half a fleece is better than none.

half a fleece_


3 Comments

Thirty days wild. June 9th

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_09

 

The best thing that you can do for nature is to make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

 

I think she’ll be glad when they’re weaned.

30WD ewe twin lambs_


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New Neighbours

We’ve new neighbours bouncing around in the field next door.

lamb_

They are as playful as spring lambs should be, doing their level best to do jumps with vertical take off; Tom commented ‘it’s just as well fully grown sheep don’t bounce around like that; the countryside would be mayhem’.

I always think their fleeces look two sizes too big for them at this age, a bit like the jumpers of school kids returning for the Autumn term.

I took these photos last week, when the sun shone, briefly.

sheep and lamb

This evening we have a weather warning for high winds, and rain is lashing down.The lambs have taken shelter in the lea of the walls, the ewes keep on with their relentless grazing, backs to the driving  rain. There are mouths to feed.


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No Angels

They may have an angelic glow, but these sheep can be mean, moody and destructive.

no angels_ 

Whilst we’ve been at the seaside, these three and the rest of their flock have been munching their way through the lanes and gardens.

At home a team of builders have been toiling away in the summer sun, building an extension for us (carrying on where we left off a good while ago) The boss reports he had a standoff with the sheep over right of access to our garden.

When they returned  a few days latter, I tried to send them packing with my best ‘GERRROFFF’ cry and waving of arms, windmill fashion which had none of the usual effect of sending them back across the fields. Instead they (some twenty woolly souls) crashed through the building materials, charged across the flower beds, past the back door and off up the drive. Our display of Michaelmas daisies will be somewhat diminished this year.

 

Over the hills they’ve been having a bit of trouble with sheep rustling, with some 77 lambs being stolen in Edale, I defy anyone to try and steal this  feisty flock at the dead of night.

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