Here at Fordhall we operate a system of outdoor grazing called ‘Foggage Farming’. This means that our cattle and sheep live outdoors throughout the year, making them completely grass fed. It is a permaculture based system developed by the late Arthur Hollins, as he tried to move the farm away from a reliance upon costly outside inputs. Arthur’s love was for the earth, wildlife and farming. His understanding came after taking over the ruined farm from his father. Arthur and his mother had a huge task ahead of them, but learnt much from the old farm workers. They taught Arthur about the importance of real manure for the soil in comparison to the chemical fertilisers his father, Alfred, had used. His interest was stimulated, the benefits were obvious and here his life’s journey began.Arthur’s philosophies for health, experimentation, and improvement continued at Fordhall throughout the years of the dairy. His outdoor grazing system, the rotations used and the types of grass and forage planted are extensively reported in many magazines of the time including Farm and Country Magazine, 1961 and The Listener in 1971. His constant experimentation, matched with exhaustive reading and research, allowed Arthur to create his own unique way of farming. This eventually led him to a system of outdoor grazing as an article in the Delicatessen from 1965 explains “Unlike most dairy farms, Fordhall keep their cows out all year round; fresh grazing is continued by the planting of special pastures which are rested during the usual growing season and bear grasses which can continue to grow at exceptionally low temperatures.” Arthur found this system to be healthy for his pastures and for the livestock. He saw no reduction in milk production, and his cows were happy. It is a system of farming that Ben and Charlotte have inherited and proudly continue. Surveys are continually being conducted on our pastures to assess the grass mix we currently have and over 70 different plant species have been identified through that process! The benefits of this slow outdoor grazing system have become more evident as we have experienced times of extreme weather over the last ten years. With the mixture of both low-lying meadows and sandy higher ground, the cattle and sheep always have somewhere to graze, which is green, lush and healthy. Plus they are happy, remain healthy, need very little veterinary intervention and taste great too! “Nature’s technology is born of millions of years’ experience: man’s is only a century or two old. My teacher must be nature.” Arthur Hollins, To learn about how we ‘Foggage Farm’ at Fordhall now click here.