Sherborne Park: Life at Home Farm

The view over the fields at Home Farm in Sherborne

The Limbrick family have farmed on the Sherborne Park Estate for 70 years. Jolyon Limbrick currently helps manage Home Farm with his father Roy. 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.

Jolyon Limbrick at Home Farm
Jolyon Limbrick at Home Farm
Jolyon Limbrick at Home Farm

In the heart of the Cotswolds, you might recgonise the Sherborne Park Estate as home to BBC's Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch last year.  The BBC chose the estate due to the wide diversity of wildlife found here, as well as the expertise of our rangers, tenant farmers and local partners. 

Follow Jolyon as he blogs about daily life at Home Farm, his favourite wildlife on the estate and how he is preparing for the rest of the year.

Latest updates

15 Oct 18

Turning over a new leaf

The hot summer has given the farm a head start for autumn. We finished the summer harvest early, which means I’ve already planted the autumn crops, oilseed rape and wheat. We’ve also been able to use the extra time to make changes to the landscape that will help animals and wildlife thrive all year round. Field margins full of grasses and wildflowers are now bordering 14 hectares of farmland. This will provide shelter for animals such as small birds and dormice. By spring these field margins will be full of bees and other insects. I’m also working with the rangers to put up boxes for the bats to hibernate in during the winter. I love this time of year because of the fresh bright mornings and changing colours of the beech trees. During the day I can see buzzards, crows and magpies scanning the hedgerows, and partridges and pheasants pottering around the farm and woodland. When I go to bed at night I can hear the owls.

Beech trees in autumn

14 May 18

Here comes the sun

The turn of spring has not been easy with the cold and the rain playing havoc with crops and animals on the farm. We now have 40 little doe-eyed calves eager to explore the fields and meadows. But it’s not very nice for a little calf to be born into a blizzard, so we've been keeping the babies and expectant mothers warm in straw-filled sheds. We can only release them once the grass has recovered. The planting of the barley has been delayed and the heavy rain has made it more difficult to spray fertilisers on existing crops. Despite the challenges, I’ve really enjoyed the sunny days we’ve had recently. It’s not just people who enjoy sunbathing; the other day when I was walking through the woods, I saw a large fallow deer laid flat out in a pool of sunshine. I’ve also seen lots of rabbits and hares bounding about. Otter heads are starting to pop up in the rivers and the sparrows have returned. I’m looking forward to feeding the BBC’s Springwatch team with lots of interesting facts about the wonderful wildlife we have here at Sherborne.

Fallow deer bucks basking in the sun

21 Mar 18

Stepping into spring

Watching the countryside waking up after a long winter is really magical. Every season has a special feel to it, but I love this time of year because the trees turn green and the animals start emerging from the woods and parkland. I often see fallow deer grazing first thing in the morning, and late afternoon is a good time to spot red kites coasting on the breeze and woodcocks pottering around the forest floor. When I walk back to the farmhouse in the evening, I see bats flitting about and the odd hare flashing past. The other day I saw a little owl watching the cattle as they had their breakfast. Sherborne is full of wildlife during the spring partly because of the help we give the animals and birds during the winter. After the autumn harvest, we let some of the fields remain fallow. The stubble provides much needed cover for the animals, and is a rich feeding ground for several different species of bird. No matter how prepared you are there are always surprises in this job, such as the baby calf born during the cold snap, ten days earlier than expected. There is no job quite like this. I never know what I’m going to be faced with. Watch out for future posts from me in the coming months.

Three leverets (baby hares) in a flowerbed at Tyntesfield