Meet Jolyon Limbrick
Farmer, Home Farm, Sherborne Park Estate
Jolyon Limbrick’s family have farmed on the Sherborne Park Estate for 70 years. The 33-year-old father-of-one is passionate about the Cotswold countryside – but honest about the hard work that goes into farming the historic estate.
How long have you been farming here?
I was born here at Home Farm and I’ve been dabbling in farming since I was able to walk. But I’ve been back farming in earnest with my father for 12 or 13 years. Our family have been here for the best part of 70 years.
Describe Home Farm
It’s a 900 acre farm. We’ve got some historic parkland, which provides most of our grazing land, and the rest is arable - producing wheat, barley and rape.
I think it’s a magical place. The view I have from my kitchen window every morning – you almost have to pinch yourself. I wouldn’t change it for the world. We’ve got hares and deer running across the lawn. It’s magical and it’s home.
What's the best thing about farming on the Sherborne Park Estate?
I think it’s being able to work in the surroundings that work in. It’s not for everyone but if you’ve been born into it and it’s in your blood it’s very difficult to get it out of your system. You’re going to be hard pressed to find somewhere more beautiful than Sherborne. To have that as your office is a pretty special thing.
And the worst?
The pay and the fact it can be very unsociable. You’re fighting the weather and the best laid plans can be destroyed through weather or livestock doing something or other. Just because it’s a Sunday that doesn’t mean you can bank on having lunch with your friends. It might be the first decent day you’ve had and you’ve got to get on that combine harvester.
" You’re going to be hard pressed to find somewhere more beautiful than Sherborne. To have that as your office is a pretty special thing."
How are you helping wildlife on the farm?
We’ve just finished an entry level stewardship scheme and we are currently looking at applying for the mid-tier stewardship scheme. In fact we’re just waiting for the pack to come through now.
The stewardship schemes work well with our everyday farming practice and we get a kick out of seeing the wildlife around. It does give you a real feel-good factor when you’re working in unison with the wildlife. We’ve got a lot of headlands, field margins, we put habitat mixes in, woodlands, low inputs on the grasslands.
You share the farm with your wife Lucia and two-year-old daughter Isabella. Is your toddler already a keen farmer?
Very much so – I struggle get her back in the house. Yesterday it was drizzly and I thought I’d sneak out and do the chickens without her. That was a bad move. All through the day she remembered that she hadn’t done the chickens.
Are you hoping she'll take the farm on from you?
I would love it if she wanted to farm. But unless something drastically changes in the farming industry I don’t think I would actively encourage her. It’s hard work and you’ve got to love what you do. It’s a lifestyle.
You were selected to be one of a dozen farmers on the NFU’s cereals development programme. What did you learn?
We had six months of meetings and visits – farm visits through to research laboratories. We went across to the European parliament and had a trip to Westminster.
The most important thing I got out of it was the realisation that there are people my age doing exactly the same as me, with exactly the same concerns. Farming is an aging industry. It was nice to be mixing with farmers my own age.