My family have lived and farmed in The New Forest for over 200 years. In 1978 my parents bought Battramsley Farm, which I took over in 2003; and in 2015 I established ‘Teddy’s Farm’ as a forum to bring to you what we have to offer: pasture-fed boxed lamb and hogget, commercial & household storage, barn dried logs, DIY livery, hay and silage; and new in 2016, camping.
We have our own facebook page where we will be keeping you up to date with all the latest goings-on on Teddy’s Farm. If you would like to be informed by email of when our produce is ready to buy, please enter your contact details on the contact us page.
When my parents moved to Battramsley Farm they managed it as a ‘mixed farm’, where the emphasis was very much about maximising production.
Today we farm less intensively. We place a high emphasis on animal welfare, and firmly believe that animals allowed to roam and graze freely as nature intended will inevitably produce tastier meat. The farmland is entirely down to grass, supporting a flock of 300 predominantly Romney ewes which live outdoors throughout the year and lamb in April. Our lamb is 100% pasture fed, guaranteed never to be fed any grain. There is growing evidence to suggest that pasture fed animals produce a leaner meat with a higher nutritional value, which is higher in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease than grain fed animals.
All of our grassland includes white clover which, apart from being a wonderful feed for our sheep, is nitrogen-fixing thereby reducing the need for artificial fertilisers. In 2014 we also included the herb chicory in a re-seed for the first time which we have high hopes for. Much of our farm is over gravel which burns out in a dry summer, so the hope is that the chicory with its deep tap root will provide some quality feed during the summer months; added to which recent research has shown that lambs grazing chicory have lower levels of internal parasites, which in theory should reduce the need for anthelmintic treatments.
From our clover rich rye-grass leys we make our own hay and silage to supplement the sheep’s diet throughout the winter. Anything surplus to requirements is available for sale.
We have fully embraced electronic identification, and all lambs are tagged and recorded soon after birth. This allows us to not only offer total traceability from field to fork, but also to trace all lambs back to their parentage which can only have a positive effect on the future health and viability of the flock. At the press of a button we can now identify our best ewes producing the strongest, healthiest lambs; and these ewes are selected to produce our future breeding stock. At tupping time the ewes are put to either a Romney, Charollais or Hampshire Down rams. Hampshire Downs are a native breed which suit our system well producing hardy lambs with plenty of get up and go.
We have approximately 60 acres of woodland. For many years this was largely neglected, but in 2001 we started managing it under the woodland grant scheme. Rhododendron infestation was cleared, 700 metres of new rides were created, 2 existing ponds were cleared and extended, and a broad shelter belt of 3500 native trees was planted. Managing the established woodland has allowed more light in to the benefit of the habitat diversity; and it’s one of the joys of the farming year hearing the duck and geese arriving to nest in the spring signalling the end of another winter. In 2015 a 700 metre mixed native hedge has been planted which in time will provide shelter around our lambing fields, as well as a welcome nesting and feeding ground for our native wildlife.