In his 21 years at Heber Farm, Garry Schofield has brought the house and the land back from a dilapidated condition, renovating buildings and fixing the walls (23km in total). He looks after around 750 breeding sheep: roughly 50% Swaledales and 50% Mules (Swaledale – Blue Leicester cross), and has some beef bulls, suckler cows, and native Belted Galloways. Three quarters of the farm’s 1100 acres is moorland, open fell tops that are dramatic in terms of scenery, but tough to keep sheep on.
Garry lives here with his wife, Gillian, and their two children, who are in their late teens. The family run a campsite and this tends to be busy through the summers (even when it’s raining!). He’s keen to continue the school visits he hosts on his farm to raise awareness of Dales farming, and may tie this in with the campsite in the future.
Garry’s wish to farm less intensively, with less reliance on sheep, an increase in numbers of Belted Galloways, and greater environmental benefit, is balanced with a need to ensure a viable income. The next couple of years may mark a turning point in farm strategy.