Since we bought our small farm as a barley stubble field at the end of 2003, we have been committed to transforming it into an oasis to be enjoyed by us, our animals and the wildlife we were sure would come if changes were made. Our first step was to sow a species rich grass mix onto the whole area and plant diverse boundary hedging. Over those initial years, we introduced our sheep and ponies, and the wildlife gradually came to visit, check out the place, and make their home here as well. We are pretty relaxed about the concept of “weeds” as it all provides habitat for different species!

While you’re enjoying your stay here at Shepherd’s Rest, you will see and hear many creatures that make their home here. We have sheep, pigs and ponies here in the fields and, if you are patient, you can see a whole host of wildlife… lots of birds including yellowhammers, blue tits, great tits, skylarks, black birds, chaffinch, jays, woodpeckers, wagtail, goldfinch to name just a few, swallows, barn and tawny owls, buzzards and kestrels. The spring and summer brings butterflies, moths and bees, whilst toads, ground beetles and other invertebrates, bats, deer, hares, rabbits, badgers and foxes are frequently seen.

Our grassland is non-intensive and encourages diverse species of grasses and other plants including orchids, yellow rattle, oxeye daisy, clovers, ribwort plantain, thistles and nettles. We find that our farm animals selectively choose different plants when needed, and wild animals can choose these for food, egg laying and shelter.

We believe in nature friendly methods and are always planting more hedges and trees, allowing some areas of the farm to be wilder and providing habitat for biodiversity. Please also look at our Plant A Tree page if you would like to be more involved. Remember to bring your binoculars and take a walk on the wild side!

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