Nick Phillips, Woeful Lake Farm
Nick Phillips, 35, left home to study in Newcastle before returning to the family farm on the Sherborne Park Estate in the heart of the Cotswolds. The dad-of-two manages 750-acre Woeful Lake Farm.
Describe Woeful Lake Farm
It’s a mixed arable and livestock farm. We farm oil seed rape, spring barley, barley for malting and milling wheat. And I’ve got a herd of stabiliser suckler cattle grazing the meadows at Woeful Lake and sheep grazing the parkland. Our beef all goes to Morrison’s supermarket.
It’s a very peaceful place, despite being bordered by the A40. My family have been at Woeful Lake since 1950.
What do you do for wildlife on the farm?
We’re in a Higher Level Stewardship agreement, focussed mostly on increasing farmland birds like corn bunting, grey partridge and skylarks. We started the scheme in 2011 and, since then, I’ve seen the benefits. Under the scheme I’ve put in beetle banks, skylark nesting plots, unharvested field margins, wild bird seed mixes and nectar rich grassland, all of which will provide food for the birds in the winter. I’m very keen on wildlife – I’ve always been an Attenborough fan.
What's the best thing about being a farmer?
Farming is a way of life. It’s not like any other job. When I get out of bed in the morning it doesn’t feel like I’m going to work.
And the worst?
The volatility in farming today. One minute you think you’re making money and the next minute you’re just making ends meet.
You've got two young boys and another child on the way. Are they keen to follow in their dad's footsteps?
My oldest is three and he loves it on the farm. He’s obsessed by all things tractor at the moment. I’d definitely encourage him to take on the farm when the time comes.