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ROUNDOAK NEWSLETTER WINTER 2016
After one of our busiest Summers ever, with record numbers of visitors to the Farm, the nights are finally drawing in, and we are turning our attention to bedding the animals down for the winter.   The hardier rare sheep breeds do winter out, however dependant on ground conditions the cattle are generally brought in.   Roundoak sits on heavy clay, and it is imperative at this time of year to preserve the grass land to ensure fodder for the forth coming year at hay making time.
 

A LOOK BACK AT 2016!


The weather has played an important part of 2016, the beginning of the year the season leading up to haymaking was very wet, but this part of the south east missed a lot of the wet weather suffered buy other parts of the country.  This is the latest in the Farm's history that the cattle have been left out grazing until nearly the mid part of November.  There was a period when there was no rain in this area for over two months and grazing was critical and supplement feeding had to be introduced.  
 

Conservation Grazing




Roundoak continues grow and strengthen its relationships in this area with partners such as the Kent Wildlife Trust, Kent County Council, Medway Valley Conservation Trust - to name but a few.  We were however, very sad in 2016 to be forced to withdraw grazing from Loose Valley, this was due to several dog attacks on the sheep, which we could not tolerate any longer.  

On a happier note we were delighted that the Farm's continued growth in its relationship with Ashford Borough Council has resulted in further grazing at Singleton on a parcel of overgrow land next to the school.    This area of land requires specialist grazing, and the Highland cattle of Roundoak are ideal for this purpose.  We would like to thank Terry Jones for his support and hope that this relationship will continue to grow.

We also continue to graze for several private land owners at Court Lodge in East Farleigh, and also at East Malling, and we again supplied Lafarge (formally Blue Circle) with Hebridean Sheep for conservation grazing on their at Halling near Snodland.



We are pleased to announce that there are also further grazing projects being planned for 2017, and would like to thank all our private land owners and local partners for their support. We are always looking for new grazing projects.
 
New Arrivals in 2016!
 
Regular readers of our Newsletters will have seen the arrival of several newcomers during 2016 to the Farm -  both animals and people!
 
As well as our human friends Nathan, and Laura, we have also been joined by several new animals.  In 2016 we acquired a flock of Suffolk-Mules to the Farm, to introduce a more commercial aspect of the Farm, and to work alongside our rare-breed and conservation programmes.



 
On the cattle front, 'The Captain', our prize Sussex Bull arrived to accompany our herd of Sussex cattle.  
 
 
               
On the sheep front - we have acquired a Sussex Ram called Billy, and also Beltex Ram that is to be crossed with our existing Hebrideans. We will watch with interest the result!
 
         
 
Sasha, the new trainee has also settled in well. She is loved by all at the farm and its visitors, and has terrific character.

Sad news from Roundoak
 

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It is with great sadness this week, that we said goodbye to Jenny, our Farm's original Cocker Spaniel, who died of old age.  She will be very greatly missed by us all. 
Events and Visitors in 2016!
 
Roundoak has welcomed many visitors with an interest in the Farm's activities through its gates this year.  In October, Roundoak was particularly excited to open its gates to 30 pupils and their teachers from Marden Primary School.   With the help of a perfect summer's day, the children spent the day interacting with and learning about all aspects of farm life, from the animals and their welfare, to the vehicles and their use, and generally increasing their understanding and appreciation of the great outdoors!

Roundoak is able to offer farm visits to children, students and individual parties of all ages, and trips can be tailored to suit the needs of the visiting party.  (Please note however that Roundoak is a serious operation and not a 'play farm', and welcomes all groups and individuals who have a genuine interest in the Farms activities, especially with regards to the Farm's involvement in Conservation Grazing, and with regards to the Farm's Rare Breeds.  Anyone interested in finding out more about our trips can contact the farm office on 01622 844491, and are welcome to arrange a visit to the Farm.
Roundoak App

We are also pleased to announce that we now have a Roundoak App available for our friends and followers with links to our website, facebook page, interactive map and giving you easy access to all our latest news, events and updates.  

To download the app, please click on the icon below and follow the instructions to download.  



(Please note this App is compatible for iOS and Android phones)
WHAT NEXT IN 2017!

The Roundoak website and Facebook page continue to grow and we very much hope that all of our visitors and friends of Roundoak enjoy our brief newsletters, which we will continue through 2017.    All the events of 2016 and previous years are well documented on these, and are hopefully of interest to our friends. There are some interesting stories - including the visit to the farm by the Cinque Port Morris Men, when our Highlanders were used in an advertising campaign, and that a few years ago our sheep were featured in the Ewan McGregor film Jack and he Giant Killer!  



We look forward to seeing the results of diversifying our animals, and also of our plans to further develop our sister farm at Ulcombe.  

Roundoak is definitetely planning to host an open day in 2017 - we are unsure as to whether or not this will be associated with Open Farm Sunday or independent, but will let you know the details in due course. We will of course keep our friends updated with regards to all this, and any planned events in 2017 via our website, facebook and newsletters.  
 
The farm is always open to guests wishing to see the cattle and sheep - via prior appointment.  With the lead up to Christmas and the New Year, please see that the Farm does have its own produce of beef, pork and lamb available.



Who knows what else 2017 will bring!



 Norman and Ruth and all the staff at the Farm would like to take this opportunity of wishing everybody a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!
 






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Roundoak Highland and Hebridean · Heniker Lane · Sutton Valence · Maidstone, Kent ME17 3ED · United Kingdom

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