Woodhouse Farm is a family run mixed farm approximately 250 acres in size. The land is about half arable and half permanent grass, which is mainly grazed by sheep. Other animals to be seen include cattle, dogs, with the occasional litter of puppies, cats and an ever expanding variety of poultry. Visitors can help feed the animals, collect the free range eggs, or just relax and watch the antics of the ducks on the pond.
The western boundary of the farm is provided by the 200 acre Howsham Wood, the southern part of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Being so large the wood offers a diverse range of flora and fauna, from carpets of bluebells and primroses in the spring to succulent blackberries in the autumn. Foxes, Badger and Deer all live in the wood, and although deer can be seen quite frequently, foxes and badgers are much rarer, unless you count the wood carvings displayed on footpaths around the wood. These footpaths lead down to the River Derwent and in turn to Kirkham Abbey, the site of a ruined Augustinian priory.
Farming is a year round occupation, with a variety of activities occurring throughout the year. Lambing is the hardest and most labour intensive, and unfortunately we are closed to guests during this time. Guests are still able to see the young lambs in the fields, and we usually have quite a few pet lambs to feed once lambing has finished. We shear our own sheep towards the end of May, and although guests are welcome to try their hand at this no-one has taken us up on the offer!
Hay-making and harvest closely follow each other, and these tasks are undertaken by the machines on the farm, rather than the hand tools used in times gone by, which can be seen on display in the house. After harvest comes cultivation and drilling, and again the machinery is in constant use. This time of year sees the farm’s orchards come into their own, with apples, pears and plums in abundance, with the apples used for our homemade Apple juice served at breakfast time, and the other fruit used in jams and preserves.
Winter sees a return to mainly stock farming, with the sheep to feed indoors and out, as the weather again turns colder.
Visitors are welcome to explore the farmyard and fields at their leisure (it is advisable to ask and make sure first), meet the animals, feed them where possible, collect the eggs and take the dogs for a walk if they are feeling energetic.