Farmer Profile: Cliff Allen


Cliff Allen


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Cliff Allen’s grandfather, who farmed in nearby Gayle, bought Scaur Head farm in the 1950s and the family has been here ever since. The farmhouse and some of the barns date back to the eighteenth century and sit perched on the valley side, at a height of 1000 feet  above sea level, with grazing land spread around and extending onto the tops, much of it rough moorland. Cliff works the farm with his son Ben and together they look after 50-60 suckler cows, with calves, 300 Swaledale ewes, and two Herdwicks. The family stopped milking cows roughly fifteen years ago.

When Cliff was a child and his father kept milking cows, one of Cliff’s jobs was to muck out the cows after school. Now, he admits, a lot of tasks are easier thanks to the introduction of new tractors and, particularly, machinery for baling hay and making silage.

Cliff has never wanted to do anything but farm. The fact that there is always a job to be done, and always something different, appeals to him, and when he’s out on his higher land, looking across Wensleydale, he gets a ‘wonderful’ feeling.

‘It makes you realise that you’re only mortal, doesn’t it? We’re not going to be here for ever. You just want to look after it, and give it to somebody else.’ Ben has been learning alongside his father for a few decades now, and is likely to take on the farm. If there’s one piece of advice Cliff would pass on it would be this: ‘Be happy. Don’t get worried!’

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