Saturday, 10 June 2017

More Amazing Wildlife at Pry House Farm

We have four young Short Eared Owls living on Pry House Farm Home Field

 The Short Eared Owl is a ground nesting bird. 
These young birds find shelter & protection in the long grass and reeds at the bottom of the field.
They are over a month old as they are fully fledged but are still being supervised 
by the parent birds which are also on the field.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Springwatch at Pry House Farm!

Who needs tv when you can come and see all this at Pry House Farm?
Its a huge privilege for me to be able wander through our meadows & pastures. 
There is so much to discover.

From butterflies ....

to toadstools.

Beautiful brown hares ....

... and cheeky Oyster Catchers.

 Redshank, Curlews & Lapwings galore

and a host of delicate meadow flowers of every colour and hue, 
all set in the spectacular, unspoilt landscape that is Upper Swaledale.

A Huddle of Leverets

We often see brown hares in the meadows & pastures around Pry House Farm but to stumble upon a form of baby hares (leverets), only a few yards from the Shepherd's hut, was very special.
Unlike rabbits, leverets are born full furred with their eyes open 
and are born above ground in what is called a 'form'.

 And their parents weren't far away!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Green Fingers or Green Toes?

Bloomin' boots!

'These boots are made for flowering, 
and smelling sweetly too'

Love a bit of up-cycling!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Pry House Hay Meadows

Our meadows are growing fast and are full of flower 
creating a cloak of fluid gold over every meadow field.

Imagine waking up with views like this from your B & B bedroom window ....

or tip-toeing through the buttercups from your Shepherd's Hut-in-the-Hills retreat.

We have to ask you not walk on across the meadows once the grass gets long (don't we Tessa?)
but you are welcome to walk around the edges!
for details of B&B, Shepherd's Hut and holiday cottage options.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Magnificent Muker Meadows

Muker meadows are at their very best in the month of June

A stroll through the traditional hay meadows in Muker on a quiet, sunny evening when the flowers are at their best is an experience not to be missed.
The stone flagged path winds its way through seven small fields each divided by sturdy drystone walls with a stile or gate with which to squeeze.

 On first glance, a sea of yellow buttercups underpinned with red clover but look closer and there are dozens of species of wild flowers to spot;  tiny Eyebright, Wood crane's-bill, Meadow vetchling, delicate Lady's mantle and lace-like Pignut.  Later in July when the flower seed has dropped this wonderful crop will be made into hay.  Almost every hay meadow has a stone building in or adjacent to the field.  In Swaledale these buildings are known as Cow Houses (pronounced cowus).  They were built to store the hay made in the meadow and to house two, three or four cows during the long Swaledale winter months.  Today the majority of the Cow Houses are redundant but not all - some in  Muker meadows are still used to store hay and winter stock.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Hillcrest Cottage - Sunshine & Shady Places

The garden at Hillcrest Cottage is an absolute sun trap......

.... and is a riot of colour and hues
however shady places can be found nearby.

The tunnel of green on the approach to Low Row is particularly calming...

..... with wooded areas on one side 
and easy access to the cool waters of the River Swale on the other.

Blue Skies & Sunshine for Tan Hill Sheep Show

Tan Hill Sheep Show 2017

Tan Hill Show is the premier place to show the Swaledale.  
After the long winter months and the trials & tribulations of lambing time farmers are ready to see and chat to one another but more importantly observe how everyones' stock is fairing.

Stewards and Judges work hard all day to ensure the show runs smoothly.
It was good to see our nephew, Andrew, doing so well today, with the ribbons to show for it.
 Later in the day Andrew went on to win the Champion Small Breeders Class with this ewe.
Well done!
Lining up for the judges......

..... on a day that definitely called for shirt sleeves and sunglasses!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Turning back to the Moor

Lambing has finally finished.  The last two Pry sheep lambed this morning.  
Its time now to turn the ewes with a single lamb back to the moor.

Its a good feeling to see them returning to their heft.  
The ewes lead their lambs along the same sheep tracks that they themselves were shown as lambs-at-foot two, three & four years earlier and in so doing begin to establish the hefted instinct in their new female lambs.

 Clearly some of our ewes are very experienced at this process.  
This ewe is older than most.  She has been kept, rather than sold as a three shear, for reasons I don't know but it is plain to see that she is a good mother; nuturing, guiding and fussing over her lamb.

They are soon far away; spreading out, finding their place out in the vast open fell which is the Swaledale's natural home.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Lambing Time Routine

 We haven't many sheep left to lamb now.  Lots of people think that when we've finished lambing then the hard work is over.

 Infact that is not the case at all.  Chris is often heard to say that anyone can lamb a sheep but the skill is in keeping both the ewe and the lamb fit and healthy afterwards.

The sky is blue and the sun is shining but it is bitterly cold which is holding back the grass.  Every day our sheep get supplementary hard feed and plenty of hay.

When the ewes have finished feeding there is quite a commotion until the lambs are 
reunited with their mothers.

 But after a lot of bleating and baarr-ing they all pair up again ...

..... and peace and tranquility is restored.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Keld Community Orchard Sponsorship Appeal

The Keld Community Orchard space has been completely transformed; 
trees, bushes & shrubs planted, grass seed sown and a snowdrop border created.
Now we have to wait for Mother Nature to work her magic and watch for signs of green and growth.

We are asking for sponsorship for the following;
Drifts of Daffodils at £20 per drift
Planted Herb Pots (pots by the Yorkshire Flowerpot Company) at £30 per pot
Garden Bench at £70 (or £35 for a half share)
If you would like to sponsor any of the above please email
Thank you

Friday, 28 April 2017

Our Very First Shepherd Hut Guests

After months of planning and preparation (and much fussing about today!) 
we have finally welcomed our first guests to Pry House Farm Shepherd's Hut.

Sleep tight! 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Lambing Time - Half Way and All Help Gratefully Received!

Suzanne bottle feeding a pet lamb.  They never stay 'pets' for long as we like to 'mother them on' as soon as possible. Best for the lamb and good for the ewe that has lambed and lost.

Tom likes helping and riding!

Different kind of helping.  
This ewe thought she would 'help herself' to a bite of sugar beat from the store in the yard!

Little Gem helping by encouraging a bit of mother and baby bonding!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Fleece & Feathers in Firs Lambing Fields

Early evening is the perfect time to quietly walk around the lambing fields

At this time of year there are so many wonderful things to stumble upon 
like this beautiful nest belonging to the Lapwing.

The air is full of bird song; the call of the peewit (Lapwing), the chatter of the Oyster Catchers and the clear warbling song of the little Skylark (pictured)

but best of all new life is only moments away. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Keld Community Orchard Update

A Community Space Created by Community Spirit

Its hard to believe that the project only began in January however
everybody's hard work and enthusiasm has paid dividends and now ......

....... the space has been totally transformed.  In the foreground a raised viewing / seating area has been created and on the right the original cobbled path has been exposed.  A range of fruit trees, shrubs and soft fruit bushes have been planted and finally a grass seed mix has been sown.

Now we have to let mother nature work her magic but while we wait there is still plenty to do.
A local resident is busy making two benches and we want to add colour and fragrance with herb planters.  In late summer we will be planting bulbs.  To achieve these as aims we will be appealing for sponsorship.  If you would like to register an interest in sponsoring a bench, a drift of bulbs or a planted herb box please contact me at