The History of Layhead Farm
We believe that Layhead Farm operated as a dairy farm from the 1800's until our cows were sold in 1997.
Before we renovated the farm buildings and Layhead Farm Cottages was founded in 1994, Layhead Farm was a small group of buildings grouped around the farmhouse - Layhead Farmhouse. There was a large stone barn - now comprising Craggs and Cobblestones - which was used for storing hay and straw, and animals would have been kept in the main body of the barn. Originally the dairy cows were tied up, and fed and milked in the shippon - now comprising Mickleden East. The other buildings were winter housing for the cows, as well as the shippon, and boxes where a cow would be housed if it needed special attention, or when it was calving.
In the 1960's the 'big building' was erected, and extended in 1970, the cows slept, ate and were milked in that building. We had a dairy herd of Friesan cows - black and white, some Ayrshires, and a few Jerseys and Guernseys. One of the most memorable Guernseys was a cow called Rocket. She is depicted in one of the painted glass windows - in Mickleden South. She was so named because she walked SO slowly! In the 1980's we also increased the sheep flock, and established a pedigree Texel flock. The sheep remained until 2001. The sheep house, the smaller building behind, was erected during that period, and we lambed the sheep in there. I now let the land out to a local farmer, so you are still able to see sheep and cattle from the cottage windows, and lambs 'playing' in the field behind the cottages in spring. Sometimes, the sheep pens are used for sorting and treating the sheep, and for shearing them in summer.
I still like to keep my hand in, so I have hens who lay the delicious free range eggs I sell, and a few years ago now, I hosted and attended a ladies walling course. There were about 12 of us, and we built the wall from the back of the Stables down to the lane. A great achievement of which we were very proud! My Dad was an excellent waller, and I felt that I should keep up the family tradition. After the walling course the same tutor also coached a ha ha course! For the uninitiated a ha ha is a ditch between fields, preventing livestock from getting from one field to another without the need for a fence. On this occasion I did not attend, but his students built the ha ha which stretches along my drive area, and up to the Garden Cottage gate. They also built the bridge that links my garden to the field in front of my house. Sheep and cattle should NOT be able to cross the ha ha, but occasionally I have had young, athletic cows in my garden.
The Stables Cottage started life as a bed & breakfast in 2000 and is now run as one of the cottages.
Over a period of thirteen years we renovated the rest of the barns to create Marshfield, Mickleden and Crabapple. Finally finishing the renovation stage with Garden Cottage in 2007.