Woodlands Farm is a fragment of London's old countryside that offers a unique opportunity to conserve heritage landscape and promote biodiversity.
At heart this is a conservation and development project.
The ambitions of The Woodlands Farm Trust are to:
1. build a truly sustainable future through sensitive farming using native stock and working towards a sustainable, harmonious practice, minimising the impact of activities on the environment both local and global.
2. maintain the farm as a community resource, giving volunteers and the community access to education, training, experiences and tasks that they might not otherwise encounter.
3. conserve and improve the biodiversity of our 89 acres.
4. create a sustainable operating and financial structure for the future.
Woodlands Farm has five different breeds of sheep. We normally hold a flock of approximately 50 ewes (females) who spend the majority of the year in the fields. During the late autumn a ram will be brought in and the females will lamb five months later, in the spring.
Dorset Down Sheep
The Dorset Down originated from the Dorset Downs region of England in the early 19th Century. They are stocky, robust sheep characterised by their dark faces and short wool. They are listed as a minority breed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
The Herdwick originates from the Lake District and the name is derived from the Old Norse herdvyck, meaning sheep pasture. Also, their wool is not popular for sale, except for carpets or loft insulation, and they normally will only have one lamb. Herdwicks are popular for being very robust, able to live on poor quality food and difficult terrain of the Lake District hills. They have been known to survive for days under snow. This breed was severely affected by the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001. However, because it is a crucial part of the Lakes’ agriculture, this breed has managed to survive.
Lleyn sheep originate from the Lleyn Peninsula in north-west Wales. Lleyn sheep were an uncommon breed until the 2000’s but since then it has become the fastest growing breed in the UK. Lleyn sheep have become popular due to their having many lambs and great maternal instincts. They also have a high milk yield and excellent white wool.
The Romney, formerly called the Romney Marsh sheep, was developed on low-lying land in Kent and Sussex in around 1800. Due to the area being exposed they wanted to produce a hardy sheep which did not require much attention. The Romney is often referred to as the best known sheep in the world as many of the large sheep industries around the world, including New Zealand, started with the Romney. Romneys are a big sheep with a heavy long-woolled fleece. The wool is used for the manufacture of cloth, blankets and knitting yarn and felt.
The Manx Loagthan originates from the Isle of Man. They are one of a group of Northern primitive sheep which includes Soay and Shetland, they are well adapted to grazing on areas which more commercial sheep would not be able to survive. They are recognisable by their brown fleece, face and legs as well as their horns. They can have between 2 and 6 horns. Their moorit (brown) wool is very head wearing so it is much sought after for knitwear. By the 1950s their numbers had declined and luckily numbers have started to increase although they are still a rare breed. //www.rbst.org.uk/Rare-and-Native-Breeds/Sheep/Manx-Loaghtan