James Rebanks: The life of a shepherd and farmer in the Lake District
I’m absolutely thrilled that my guest in this episode is James Rebanks.
He’s a shepherd, farmer and writer and the author of the bestselling book The Shepherd’s Life and new book English Pastoral.
James’ farm is in the Matterdale Valley near Ullswater in the Lake District and his family has farmed in that stunning area for 600 years
He owns a large flock of Herdwick sheep, some belted Galloway cows, pigs and chickens.
In his new book English Pastoral, James passionately calls for farming to become more sustainable and nature-friendly. He speaks about how in the past 50 years, technology and fertilisers used on farms have had a hugely detrimental effect on nature and wildlife.
So he’s been changing the way he manages his land, by planting more hedgerows and trees in his fields, abandoning fertilisers, building ponds, allowing the river to flood some of his farmland and focusing on the health of his soil.
His efforts are paying off and he’s seeing a wonderful return of wildlife to his farm, including more otters, fish, herons, wetland birds, insects and wildflowers.
While the outdoors has been a pretty constant feature in his life, James is now making nature and wildlife a bigger part of it.
I spent a morning with James exploring his beautiful farm and seeing the changes he’s implementing - we then recorded the episode in an old sheep barn!
I wanted to find out more about James’ outdoors life, the realities of being a farmer and shepherd, and why he thinks it’s so important to have nature thriving alongside farming.
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You’ll find James on Twitter and Instagram @herdyshepherd1
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The Outdoors Fix is a podcast produced and hosted by Liv Bolton @liv_outsideuk
It is proudly supported by Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports – stores nationwide and online offering everything you need to equip you for the best outdoors experience.