Cows & Calvescows & Calves 2

Woodhouse Farm is a family run mixed farm approximately 500 acres in size. The land includes arable crops, mainly wheat, barley and Oil Seed Rape and permanent grass, which is grazed by our home bred sheep and cattle. Other animals to be seen include our outdoor hens, farm dogs – with the occasional litter of puppies – friendly cats and even ducks on the farmyard pond. Visitors can help feed the animals, collect the free range eggs, or just relax and watch daily life on the farm.

The western boundary of the farm is provided by the 240 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, including lambing and calving. Lambing is the hardest and most labour intensive, and unfortunately we are closed to Bed and Breakfast guests during this time (mid March to mid April). Apple Tree Cottage is open all year round, and guests are able to see the young calves and lambs in the fields, and we usually have quite a few pet lambs to feed even when 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 home-made Apple juice served at breakfast time, and the other fruit used in home baking, jams and preserves.

Winter sees a return to mainly stock farming, with the cattle and 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.