The family at East Wingates Farm has also both lived and farmed in Northumberland for over 400 years and they look to continue to be a custodian of the land for the next generation.
"Twelve years ago we decided to become part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. This means that a more environmental approach is used to look after the land by not over stocking and virtually no chemicals or pesticides are used. I have created new habitats by planting and restoring miles of ancient hedgerows and establishing wetland areas including a new pond.
The fruits of our labour were confirmed the other morning when John, my six year old son, whispered in my ear "look there's a red squirrel climbing up that tree, I've never seen one so close!" This year in particular I have noticed an increase in the bird life for example seeing four herons lifting off the pond at once and two pairs of curlews have returned again this spring. We are also looking forward to seeing the banks of blue bells appearing in our wood.
Five years ago we converted the 200 year old stables into a cold store and preparation room to enable us to prepare, pack and sell our own lamb from the farm and through the farmers' markets. I have total control and traceability by only selling our own lamb born and bred on the farm. The season starts from the end of August through to March, I now have several hundred satisfied customers who eagerly await the new seasons lamb.
I, Jimmy Bell, affectionately known as the Lamb Man, enjoy living at East Wingates Farm with my wife, Kirsty and children Sarah and John and with our continuing hard work on the land and through our diversification project we hope that the farm is now sustainable for us to enjoy and the next generation."
There are many walks available in the beautiful Northumbrian countryside that surrounds the Lamb Man's farm at East Wingates. If you are looking for special guidance and ideas then look no further than Jon Monk's Shepherds Walks.