Orlock Farm, County Down, Northern Ireland
The Alexander family are tenant farmers at Orlock Farm on Northern Ireland’s east coast, where they run a herd of native breed Pedigree Dexter Cattle. They’ve been running the farm with a focus on recovering the land, improving biodiversity and helping nature.
In May 2022, they reseeded the farmland with a mix of grass and herb species, which pollinated despite the summer’s droughts. Now, birds such as house martins and finches have started appearing, along with masses of insects including butterflies.
They revived the farm’s semi-natural native grassland by grazing young cattle on the area to remove dead plant matter and reduce briars and brambles. This restored a meadow scrub patchwork habitat, encouraging birds such as tree sparrows. This is just one way of how livestock can be used to help the land recover.
In September 2022 they introduced four hives of Black Irish Native Bees and began making their own honey.
Orlock Farm is now a diverse and thriving landscape. From spotting 42 butterflies during one single transect study of the farm, to seeing flora and fauna flourish in new places, the Alexander family are witnessing first-hand what positive impacts their approach has had.