Kim and Janet
We left London in 1988 looking for a better way of life for ourselves and our children. Tiplady Farm when we found it was in run-down state, the roof had a lot of holes and some of the floors were missing, it was perfect! So the whole family of five moved into one bedroom, having first put a window back, and now four generations of our family as well as some friends live here. One day we might even finish it!
Emma and Darren
Emma moved to the farm in 1988 along with her parents and brothers. At the age of 18 she left to pursue her love of horses and the outdoors working in various yards throughout the UK before taking a job as an outdoor instructor in Cornwall. It was here that she met fellow outdoor instructor Darren who was born and bred in Plymouth. In 2005 Emma and Darren moved back to the farm and have decided to remain and raise their two boys here as well as helping to run the farm.
Tom Russell (Here in spirit)
“Will you slow down, lean on your gate and look at your bloomin animals!”
On the day we bought the farm a man in his late seventies surprised us by saying that he lived here too. Tom Russell, our great friend and mentor was one of the last horsemen, with the knowledge of the generations before him, he understood the land. We spent many hours by the fire in his old caravan and learned much about traditional good farming practice. Tom has sadly passed away but the environmental restoration that followed was inspired by him and even now, before we do something different we can't help wondering if Tom would have approved, we think he would.
More about the Shepherds Huts and the Campsite
Our Shepherds huts are all hand crafted to a high quality and a traditional design by master craftsmen in York. They are made from Forrest Stewardship Council certified timber and enjoy fully insulated walls, floors and ceilings holding a good three inches of Thermafleece sheep’s wool sourced from the Lake District. All of that, together with solid European Oak flooring, effective wood burning stoves and of course an electricity supply, means that they are fully habitable all year round.
Each hut has a double bed, dining table and two chairs, all bedding is provided and there is ample space for two more people if you don’t mind being cosy. In the hut you’ll find coffee or tea making facilities and home grown ingredients for a full English breakfast are available by request.
The toilet and shower block is built inside of an old farm workshop and enjoys all modern facilities as well as under floor heating. Outside and under cover there is a washing up area with hot and cold water, a butler sink and a stone draining board. All water comes from one of our own springs and is regularly tested; electricity currently comes from our solar system, supported by mains when needed.
Down by the pond and water wheel there is a small covered cooking area with a drinking water supply and electric point. You are welcome to use your own gas or other camp cooking stoves but there are also environmentally friendly “16 brick” rocket stoves available and we can provide a barbeque if you want one too.
We welcome horses at Tiplady Farm and are happy to offer D.I.Y livery and use of the Victorian hunter boxes if required.
Our farm, the animals and sustainable living
At Tiplady, our aim is to live in a sustainable manner with a low environmental impact so the farmhouse is heated by wood grown on the farm and there is a well hidden solar array providing much of the electricity. Our water comes from two of the many small springs on the farm and is later returned to the ground in a clean state. One current project is to produce low voltage, off-grid electricity from our 200 year old water wheel but not surprisingly it’s turning out to be rather complicated!
We keep small numbers of Highland Cattle and Herdwick Sheep all ancient breeds which are slow growing and take longer to reach an adult size. Our animals live on pastures with a rich biodiversity of plants and grasses, they benefit from a longer life and live in a stress free environment. We care very much about the wellbeing of our animals but it's also good to know that traditional breeds reared this way have lower levels of saturated fat and contain more antioxidants than those reared intensively.
Over the years we've planted 3,000 native broad leaved trees and 6,000 hedge trees and because plants and wildlife find it difficult to migrate across open pasture, our new woods are connected to the old ones. We've left some tree groups in open fields and also created some new ponds and marshes to provide a variety of wildlife habitats it's worked rather well and in July 2009 the farm received an award for "Environmental Stewardship and Wildlife Habitat Creation" from the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
We also manage our pasture very carefully and in 2014 the AONB carried out a Hay Meadow Survey, which commented that the wildflowers in our pastures “are really lovely and very variable, – there are patches on sunny slopes that are really species diverse - it is the numbers that are impressive with many local species frequent in the field.” As a result the variety of insect life has rocketed; bird and bat numbers have increased as have field mammals which now support a small number of birds of prey.
We also love to work with reclaimed material so although Little Owl Cottage in the farmyard might look like a 300 year old building it is in fact made entirely from second hand odds and ends and took about five years of Sundays to build
We are happy for our guests to enjoy any part of the farm, the pastures and the woodland.
We keep both Herdwick and Dalesbred sheep, Cumbrian folklore links both breeds to the Vikings and very recent genetic research does indeed show genetic evidence of a historical link so it appears that they really did arrive here on longboats! More importantly the research discovered a 'primitive genome', found previously in very few breeds worldwide and show a lower than average risk of infection to MaidiVisna, a virus causing a slow-acting disease affecting millions of sheep worldwide with massive welfare and economic impacts. This kind of recent research shows how crucial it is to look after this biodiversity.
Our Highland cattle are an old breed known to have grazed the rugged Scottish landscape since the sixth century. Like the Herdwicks, folklore tells us that they also arrived with the Vikings but the truth is that no-one really knows.. Before the railways, tens of thousands of cattle left the Highlands and Islands each year to make their long journey south, many walking all the way to London before being sold as prime beef, no wonder they have short legs!
Rosie the Clydesdale.
The Clydesdale is the Scottish Shire horse, tens of thousands once worked on farms in Britain and thousands more were exported and sent all around the world, they carted the material for New York’s first skyscrapers and also became known as "the breed that built Australia", Then they nearly became extinct and Rosie, our Clydesdale mare, is one of only about 8,000 registered females left so at the moment they really are pretty vulnerable. Heavy horses are probably as environmentally friendly a form of power as you can get and they don’t churn up the land like tractor tyres do. Unfortunately you can’t just leave them anywhere and start them with a key, but there again, you can’t have everything.
Ebony the Fell Pony
The Fell pony was originally used as a packhorse, carrying lead, slate or iron ore and also in light agriculture or the transportation of bulky farm goods such as wool With their sturdy bodies, strong legs, easy going nature and being good, fast walkers, they would travel up to 240 miles in a week. Funnily enough the Vikings had these too, all in all, Ebony has a much more relaxed life than her ancestors.
Our hens are not so much free range as long range but they do come home to lay fantastic eggs. We have a selection of old British breeds so the eggs do tend to be different sizes and colours, they all taste great though!
We believe that the farm itself dates from around 1420 and retains much of its original circular field pattern. This “ring farm” layout and the south facing hillside location indicate that Tiplady is probably one of the early farms that followed the dissolution of the monasteries and the destruction of Fountains Abbey.
The farm is in the parish of High and Low Bishopside and Fountains Abbey is only a few miles away. Yorkshire Cistercians were renowned for their sheep farming; and the Abbey was at one time the leading producer of wool in the country,it seems likely that around 18 000 sheep were moved between high and low pastures in accordance with the seasons at the height of production.
Recent renovation work uncovered quite large amounts of stone and oak, particularly in the roofs that may well have come from there.