Michael Faraday has lived and farmed at Kingsdale Head for fifty years with his wife Stephanie. The farm is the last and highest in Kingsdale, above Singleton, with 1500 acres of land. Most of the land is moorland and about a third is classified as SSSI.
Many years ago, Michael kept a flock of just over 600 breeding ewes, but now has only 180, with about 80 gimmer hogs and 80 wethers. All the sheep are Dalesbred. Over the winter the younger sheep – the hoggs – are the only ones on the farm: the ewes are being fed on lower, richer pastures near Bentham.
While stocking numbers have reduced significantly, and there are no longer cattle here, something that has not changed is the extent of the drystone walls and it has always been Michael’s ambition to finish them. But with twelve miles and the constant onslaught of weather, this has been, and always will be, an ongoing job.
The Faradays are unsure about the future for this farm and for farming in the Dales in general in the light of market prices, political changes and lack of succession. Michael wonders if the walls might all disappear. ‘That’s a bit sad. I don’t know where we’re going really.’