How it all began
The ‘Hollyhock Flock’ started nearly 35 years ago with a couple of Shetland ewe lambs. For a few years I stayed with the Shetlands and bred myself a small flock, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. After a visit to Sweden in 1987 I discovered exactly what I was after; Gotlands. I bought my 1st ram Hooklands Goliat straight away and have since bought in a succession of quality pure bred Gotland rams that I have used on my shetland cross ewes until now. My current flock have 7 different registered Gotland rams in their ancestry as well as a couple of home bred rams.
I have selected the ewes that I keep to give me a good manageable sized sheep with good confirmation, a nice friendly temperament and a beautiful fleece with a range of colours and the right size of curl for what I want to use the wool for. Most have the appearance of a pure bred Gotland, but as you can see from some of the photos, a few have a rather distinctive Hollyhock Flock look.
A healthy, happy flock
It has always been my aim to farm in the most environmentally friendly way that I can. I have been a member of the Soil Association for nearly 40 years and although I cannot claim my meat is Organic, I believe very strongly that a healthy soil produces healthy animals. My hope is that over the years I have gradually improved the health and fertility of the rather poor New Forest soil I started with and that the flock now has a wonderfully rich and diverse sward to graze along with a wealth of interesting plants to browse in the hedges we have planted. The result is a very happy and healthy collection of sheep that produce friendly ewes, great wool and very tasty meat!
Sustainability and stewardship
Tree planting, soil etc
Sadly I no longer have my beautiful red poll cows. Annual TB testing of the whole herd became a problem for me as I haven’t got a crush and I reluctantly decided they would have to go.