Katie & Richard - Manor Farm. Wiltshire
Manor Farm today owned and run as a family business by Richard & Katie Jowett. The farm is the remnants of a holding that once extended to in excess of 2000 acres and until 1936 formed part of the Wilton Estate, owned by the Earls of Pembroke. It was leased in the 1600’s to the family of the fascinating antiquarian John Aubrey, who documented a great deal about the farm and the local area, particularly in his book ‘A Natural History of Wiltshire’. Here he describes the village and local landscape in detail and many features and field names are still recognisable today.
We have trialled various breeds of sheep including the old fashioned Wiltshire Horn, the classic North of England mule and welsh Lleyns. For the first time this year we have bought some South Down rams, this is traditional British breed and we are looking forward to seeing how their lambs grow next year.
The farm is run as a traditional mixed farm with arable crops grown on the tops of the downs while our organic, native breed sheep flock grazes the steep coombes, valley floors and permanent pasture.
This combination is enhanced with wildlife friendly headlands, bird food and nesting plots and thereby provides a mosaic of habitats that encourages wildlife and allows species to travel across the farm. Our downs are rich with a diverse array of native flower species including orchids and other less common species such as Broom Rape and are largely classified as Sites of Special Scientific interest (SSSI’s). This diversity in turn supports a vibrant and varied population of pollinators, including the rare Adonis Blue butterfly, and mammals including species that are in decline, such as hare, hedgehogs and harvest mice.
In order to maintain this diversity we employ an extensive grazing system – running just 220 breeding ewes and their lambs over 200 acres of grassland. This extensive system allows us to rear high quality lamb, hogget and mutton on grass and herbs alone.