The Monkstone Flock was registered in 2010.
The farm at Trevayne has been looked after by the Reed family since the early 1930’s. The rich pasture land surrounding the farm has always been ideally suited for cattle and sheep. Originally, the main enterprise was based around a dairy herd, however from the late 1970’s they moved away from their traditional roots into rearing-calf and beef production.
Today the farm is developing its methods by following the principles of permaculture. Processes have been adapted to provide for the farm’s ecology and enhance biodiversity with particular focus on pasture reversion. This has allowed a number of smaller enterprises to establish themselves with greater symbiosis between them whilst also maintaining a sustainable and natural platform.
Trevayne , now home to the Monkstone Herd and Flocks, has a number of breeding Tamworth pigs, poultry and a variety of horticultural activities. As the farm moves into the future there is a strong emphasis on improving its efficiency and reducing its dependency on mechanisation, fuel and other man-made inputs whilst protecting and nurturing its natural elements. Ultimately the farm’s output will be less, but its continued success will rely on building its natural efficiency and reducing its input costs.
The Monkstone Herd
The farm is home to a herd of pedigree Welsh Black cattle. The Welsh Blacks are an ancient, native welsh breed. They are renown for their hardiness and quality meat. Their tough nature means they are less dependant on housing and their versatile foraging habits allow them to get the best out of poor winter swards, lessening their dependency on stored winter forage. They have an innate ability to calve and mother well, further lessoning the need for housing and over management. A breed well suited to the overall system being developed on the farm. The pedigree herd are registered
The Monkstone Flock
Part 1: The Black Welsh Mountains; A pedigree flock of sheep ideal to the farms developing system. A hardy breed with excellent well flavoured meat and durable hardy warm wool. With good resistance to the elements and diseases, the Black Welsh Mountains share pasture easily with the cattle and demand less with regards to additional winter feed, housing and unnecessary management. Good lambing and mothering instincts form part of the breeds characteristics. New born lambs are quick to their feet adding to the overall quality of this breed.
Part 2: The Dorsets; Smaller in numbers on the farm but larger in size and personality these sheep are a very adaptable breed fitting in well with the overall system. Their big fleeces produce excellent wool for clothes and knitwear. The breed has the ability to produce three lambs within a two year period and their meat offers a slightly lighter flavour than the Black Welsh Mountains. Within the Dorsets on the farm are a number of coloured ewes. For wool production these colours are highly desirable and the process of dying is not required. Additionally their friendly inquisitive nature has a positive effect on the Black Welsh Mountains meaning the flock as a whole is approachable and manageable out in the field.
We shear on a yearly basis and if the weather is warm we will shear a little early. We pay attention to the sheep needs at all times making sure they are looked after to the best of our ability here at Trevayne.
We use experienced local shearers to get a good quality fleece, we then bundle the fleeces based on breed, keeping the fleeces separate to make cleaning and spinning the wool a lot more accessible. This also means we can design accordingly, based around amount of fleece we get per breed keeping style in mind.
After the washing and spinning process, which takes around 2 months, we divide the kilos of wool. We divide it into oiled on cone, washed on cone (for machine knitting) and hand knitting yarns in 50kg balls. We tend to get 5-8 kilos per sheep. Our ram ‘Rambo’ had a fleece of 7 kilos.
When the yarns come back to Monkstone Studio we then send the yarns to our hand knitters, and the wonderful factory we use which is only 42 miles away from the farm.