Jordan Castle Farm derives its name from the 'motte and bailey' manor house that is now only visible as an earthwork. It dates from the 13th Century, the right to fortify the manor house having been granted by the king to Richard Foliat (father of Jordan) in 1263.
The farm belonged to one of the greatest estates in this area (Rufford) until 1939 when our family purchased it at the estate's demise. It now extends to 267 acres (108 hectares) and is divided almost equally into arable and pasture land. The latter carries our 70-cow herd of Poll Charolais cattle. We have been polling (i.e. breeding off the horns) for over 30 years now.
Some bulls are reared for sale to other breeders, but the majority of the progeny are sold as "store cattle" ie other farms fatten them at 15 - 18 months of age. The arable part of our farm grows winter wheat, winter and spring barley. The barley is fed to the cattle but the other crops are sold.
Our entire farm is part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, which is a government scheme to encourage conservation and help the environment. Over the past forty years we have renovated most of our hedges (only two have been removed in 70 years), planted over 1000 metres of hedgerow, pruned our 1860’s orchard, cleaned four ponds, pollarded willow trees and in 2000 completely refitted our 1796 brick-built barn.
We farm in a sensitive way to work with nature. This is not new here but now has a modern name. It's called 'integrated farm management'. We try to combine modern techniques with an age-old love of the countryside. We think the amount of wildlife you are likely to see proves this.
In 2001 we were very pleased to have our work rewarded by being judged overall winners of the 'Wilkinson Environment Award for Nottinghamshire' sponsored by Wilkinson Hardware Ltd. This annual award is given to the farmer or grower who, in the judges' opinion, has most successfully combined a commercial farming business with a whole-hearted approach to environmental practice and improvement. We were again winners in 2013.
In 2004 we were also very pleased to be awarded a Highly Commended Certificate of Merit in the nationally renowned Silver Lapwing Award. In 2012 we were highly commended in the Nature of Farming Awards and were regional finalists in 2013.
In September 2005 the farm was entered into Entry Level Environmental Stewardship. In February 2006 we successfully bid for entry into the Higher Level Scheme which covers the entire farm. Under this scheme we are creating permissive access, replanting the orchard, establishing pollen/nectar mix planting and some new hedgerows. It has also enabled us to renovate the old stable as a meeting room for educational access visits. In 2016 we entered into the Higher Tier of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme for a further 5 year period.