"Farmers are just gardeners on a bigger scale.."
The Dale family have been farmers as far back as 300 years. Secrets of the local land have been passed on from generation to generation, always being taught to be a custodian of the countryside, to "leave the land as you found it".
The Dale Family
The Dale Family have been farming and living on Manor Farm since 1945. Manor Farm is located in the quaint village of Bourton-on-the-Hill. 220 acres of our farm was used as a dairy farm producing 3,200 pints of milk a day by Friesian Cows. We stopped dairy farming in 2007 and now half of our farm is used to grow grain, wheat, barley and oats while the other half is used to farm vegetables such as peas, brussel sprouts, black kale and cabbage farmed at a high level of proficiency.
On our property are two Tithe Barns that were built by Westminster Abbey, who owned the farm for over 535 years, dating back to 1472. These barns were used as storage for the village Tithes, as old cow sheds and shire horse stalls. The Dale family house, where the family lives now, was two barns used as racehorse training stables but converted by Robin into a beautiful 4 bedroom Cotswold Stone house in 1979 Two of the original fireplaces from when Westminster Abbeys tendency still stand on our farm today along with a gorgeous 14th century Dutch Barn.
With our in depth local knowledge and true off the beaten track opportunities we have utilized this to offering tailor made tours around the Cotswolds and beyond and we like to invite our touring guests to experience our family's history and land, put your hand towards learning a country art and learn how to make our traditional dry stone walls, or learn how we plant the farm year to year, whatever the time of year there is always something to see and do.
What you're likely to see and when you visit..
January to March- Seeds planted over the winter are starting to see the world and the brown soil fields and starting to produce life. Our 500 sheep are all out in the fields eating the remains of the vegetables preparing themselves for birth come April. Possibly a hedgelaying demonstration from Robin Dale learn this rural art that Prince Charles regularly does himself and he has been taught by Robin.
April to June- Life on the farm has begun and is coming to life, the lambs will be out in the fields and you might be lucky enough to see one come into the world in the lambing pens. All the barley and oats are growing rapidly and it's interesting to see the different varieties we grow and where in the world they end up.
July to September- A busy time on the farm harvesting, ploughing and reseeding, you might be lucky enough to see the combine out in the fields cutting the wheat, pick some of our black kale, and the sprouts and cabbage are all planted and start growing immediately.
October to December- Most of the country are depressed the winter is here but as farmers we're looking forward to getting the vegetables out of the ground, the cabbage and sprout fields are beautiful an amazing scene worth seeing. The landscape is changing with the stunning foliage and planting is beginning ready for next summer.