Thursday 3 October 2013

We've arrived!

The sheep move began on Sunday, when Roly with the help of lots of lovely neighbours in Little Wittenham helped gather the flock and bring them back through the woods, over the clumps, and then pen them up in the farm yard ready for their road trip the following day. Generally this went well . . .  although an enthusiastic dog who was taking its owner for a walk through the woods spooked the flock and the manoeuvre became a little more interesting. On exciting the woods (through a different gate than then one shown to the team of helpers during their briefing!), the flock were then ambushed by 20 Hereford cows as they walked back over the Wittenham Clumps Nature Reserve for the last time. After a second regroup, the flock finally arrived back in the farm yard.
The next morning Roly and John Sargent helped load up 300 ewes, 76 ewe lambs, 296 lambs and 8 rams into the two lorries each with 4 levels, not to mention lifts, stairs, compartments, etc - you name it, these lorries had it - we (sheep included) were all fascinated! It look about 2 hours to load the 2 lorries. The road trip itself to West Sussex took 3 hours. As the sheep unloaded it was the noise of the doors releasing and the sheep running down the ramps and the lambs springing in the air which all contributed to it feeling like a really historic moment for us and as we learnt later for the National Trust too who told us that us farming Saddlescombe was the first time since the 1940's that a family and their flock have settled here. The sun even shone for us!

We stood and watched as the ewes gradually spread themselves across the open field in front of us and they seem to think so far that Sussex grass is pretty tasty!  We walked back to the farmyard with members of the South Downs National Trust team who had come out to watch them arrive to greet the boys meandering their way through the farmyard to their new home in the donkey wheel paddock behind our house.  Basil was in front of course.  It is just the best feeling eating our breakfast and seeing them outside, Molly can't quite believe it!

Thank you to all our friends, neighbours and customers from Oxfordshire who have all been so kind. Please keep in touch with us and mail order will be up and running soon!  We are really looking forward to making friends down here and welcoming visitors to the farm and sharing with them this beautiful place.

More soon

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Boris and Belle

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