Hidden Valley Yurts & Lake House, nestled on Lower Glyn Farm, has always been a haven for those seeking luxury glamping and a serene getaway. But this year, we’ve added a new chapter to our story, one that’s all about community, regeneration, and a closer connection to nature. We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of ten adorable calves to our farm, bringing our total cow count to 16. In this blog, we’ll dive into the details of this exciting development and how it ties into our commitment to regenerative farming and a more interactive guest experience.
The Arrival of 10 Calves
We recently welcomed ten calves to our farm, sourced from a dairy farm in Devon. These calves comprise five heifers (females) and five steers (males that have been castrated). The decision to expand our herd was driven by our desire to involve new entrants in the farming industry. Our herdsman, Lewis, and his wife Mandi, both deeply connected to our valley, approached us with a plan to start their farming journey here. After many conversations, the first ten calves arrived a couple of weeks ago, marking the beginning of an exciting new venture.
A More Interactive Experience for Guests
One of the exciting aspects of this expansion is the opportunity it presents to our guests. As part of our plan, we’re gearing up to offer more interactive farming-based activities for those staying in our yurts and Lake House. This will allow our guests to connect with nature, learn about farming, and unwind while contributing to a sustainable environment. It’s all about giving back to our community and the planet.
The Highland Cows
Our beloved highland cows, including Blondie, Tommy, Josephine, Dunn, Trouble, and Hetty, are still very much a part of our farm. However, as we transition into a more regenerative farming system, we decided to increase our herd numbers. As much as we love them, working closely with horned cattle can be challenging, and our new calves will not have horns when they mature into fully grown cows. We’re also hopeful that our highland cows will have their own fluffy calves next year as they go back in calf this autumn.
Our Commitment to Regenerative Farming
At Hidden Valley Yurts & Lake House, we pride ourselves on not intensively farming the land. We believe we have something special, from our pristine streams and woodlands to our species-rich meadows. Our goal is to enhance the soil, because when the soil thrives, so does the grass, leading to happier cows. We abstain from using pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and although we’re not officially organic, we work closely with nature to maintain the integrity of our land. Stay tuned for more insights into our regenerative farming practices.
About the Calves
These calves are a unique breed, born to Jersey cows and sired by a North Devon Ruby Red Bull. This combination produces medium-sized cows that yield excellent milk, ensuring the calves grow well. North Devon cattle are hardy, capable of thriving outdoors even in winter, thanks to their thick curly coats. Their smaller size means they consume less feed while still producing top-quality beef.
Names and Personalities
Our female calves, Lulu, Flori, Maggie, Mabel, and Betty, have names and unique personalities. Flori and Lulu are particularly tame and enjoy head scratches. Lulu even dozes off while receiving a face massage. On the other hand, our male calves, being raised for beef, remain nameless to avoid attachment. However, Tommy the black highland steer is still with us after 7 years!
Visiting and Feeding Experience
While bottle-feeding isn’t possible due to their feeding method, guests are welcome to visit the calves during their morning or afternoon feedings. You can observe, ask questions, and get up close to these adorable creatures. The calves, aged between 4-8 weeks, are grouped based on their drinking speeds. They will be weaned around the end of October and then moved onto pasture.
We’re not stopping at just these ten calves. In the spring of 2024, we plan to bring more calves onto the farm (which guests will be able to bottle feed), followed by sheep. This expansion will pave the way for meat boxes featuring our grass-reared beef and lamb, produced using regenerative agriculture methods. These methods not only enhance soil health but also reduce our carbon footprint, ensuring that all our animals eat what nature intended.
At Hidden Valley Yurts & Lake House, our commitment to community, nature, and sustainable farming continues to grow, and we invite you to be a part of this exciting journey. Stay tuned for more updates on our calves and other developments on Lower Glyn Farm!