- Adam Henson is being hailed as the UK’s favourite farmer. In any case, he’s a great advocate for farming and food production, as well as his dedication to rare breed animals. He’s well known for his weekly appearance on BBC’s Countryfile, has a monthly column for the Archant Life magazines, including Cotswold Life. He already writes a column about life on his farm, for the Life series, including Cotswold Life, as well as one for Country Smallholding magazine.
- Adam runs the Cotswold Farm Park, near Guiting Power in Gloucestershire. The Cotswold Farm Park is great family day out. Children love looking at the range of farm animals – from rare breed Soay sheep to Iron Age pigs. There’s the ever-popular Touch Barn, where children can interact with smaller animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, kids, lambs and piglets), while staff explain the hatchery process from egg to chicken, as well as the handling and care of rabbits and guinea pigs.
- He lives with his partner and their two children, several dogs, chickens, horses and a whole farmyard of other animals.
It’s a really exciting time of year on the farm, as we’re lambing, so new life is appearing every day. Between early February and the end of April we’ll welcome the arrival of about 1400 lambs. Our speciality is the conservation of rare breeds, so we have a variety of “shapes and sizes” – the Cotswold, often called the Cotswold Lion, with its shaggy, almost dreadlock-like wool, the aptly named Whiteface Dartmoor, the Portland – whose lambs are born a russet-red colour, and the Norfolk Horn, which has a black head and legs. We set up a covered “maternity ward” so that the ewes can give birth in warmth and straw. This is a real highlight for our visitors, many of whom will sit on a straw bale for several hours waiting for lambs to be born – and often they’ll come back the next day to see how “their” lamb is doing. It’s a particularly busy time for our Livestock Manager Mike, but he’s supported by our Livestock Team who are on hand to assist with any difficulties. Sometimes a lamb may get stuck when its being born and other times a ewe may give birth to more lambs than she’s able to feed. One of our team Mandy is currently hand-rearing seven lambs. This means making sure they’re regularly bottle fed, with special formula and kept under warm lamps, especially those who are under weight. Four of them were from the same ewe, who had given birth to six lambs. She wouldn’t have been able to produce enough milk to keep them fit and healthy so we helped her. Many members of the team and visitors to the Farm Park like to name these “pet lambs.” Mandy’s four year old daughter Lola has named one of the little Jacob sheep “Domino” as, typical of her breed, she has a black and white fleece.