Whittington Lodge Farm is based in the rolling hills of the Cotswold countryside. It is run by Ian and Cathy Boyd, along with their daughter, Steph Ackrill. As a team, they farm approximately 700 acres. The Farm looks after a herd of Organic, Pasture for Life, Pedigree Hereford Cattle alongside the management of wildlife habitats and organic arable crops.
The farm focus has dramatically changed over the years from concentrating on production for maximum yield to working in harmony with wildlife and the environment. In 2005, we established wild flower meadows throughout the farm with the aim to increase insect life and birds including, lapwings, goldfinches and skylarks. We then started the transition to making our farm organic and introduced a herd of Hereford cattle to manage the land. All these changes resulted in our farm winning numerous awards for the management of the land from RSPB, FWAG, GWCT and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
Today our Hereford cattle who are 100% grass fed, Certified Pasture of Life (PFLA), graze these glorious Cotswold wildflower meadows. The herd lives outside all year round and in winter they are only fed hay made from our wild flower meadows and grassland. Their diet is NEVER subsidised by grain. The cattle are kept in large groups and moved to new pastures daily. This is known as 'Mob Grazing'. Mob grazing means continually moving your herd to new pastures, resulting in the herd eating one third of the grass, trampling one third of the grass and leaving one third of grass. The grasses left behind develop long roots which helps to lock carbon into the ground. This is further assisted by the hooves trampling the ground. The herd will then not visit the same area for 3 months, which allows the soil to build. This system not only benefits the herd but it also feeds the soil and allows the plants to flower and set seed before it is next grazed.
Our herd enjoy a natural lifestyle. The cows and calves remain together all their lives and we allow them to wean naturally after approximately 9 months.
We believe that farming should be a two-way conversation with nature. Our aim is to leave the land in a better state than we found it to ensure many generations after us are able to enjoy the land and wildlife.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development:
The Cotswold Beef Shed