Cheswell Grange - Neil Harley

Neil Harley. Shropshire

The farmer

Neil Harley took over an arable farm and is converting it to pasture. The farm operates a holistic management system and he farms without artificial fertilisers or sprays. The cows move every few days onto fresh pasture, helping to sink carbon into the soil. The turkeys then follow the cattle in a rotational system, being moved every 2-3 days. They live outside and spend their nights in a mobile coop to protect them. The coop is moved by hand onto fresh pasture when the turkeys move. 

The animals

This is the first year that Neil has raised turkeys on the farm and he chose a breed simply called White. They are known to be docile and produce a larger amount of meat than other breeds. These birds are well-known for their delicate and mild flavour, further enhanced by the rich and varied diet of pasture, insects and supplemental grains available at Cheswell Grange.

The land

The farm is 780 acres and has been farmed by the same family for five generations. There are currently 360 acres of pasture that have been created since the spring of 2017, helping to restore soil health and improve biodiversity. The grazing ground is holistically managed and chemical free. This locks up carbon underground and hopefully allows natural processes to return the soil ecosystems to full health. In turn, our ecosystem and the food we eat becomes healthier. There are numerous areas set aside for nature and biodiversity, including flower rich margins and wild bird feeding plots. The farm is PFLA Certified. Pasture-fed for life! 

The turkeys follow cattle in a regenerative grazing system, restoring fertility to what used to be arable land.