(Last Updated: April 2017)
Roundoak newsletter spring 2017
The Queen's Duke arrives at Roundoak from Balmoral!
‘The Duke’ will be introduced to our Highland stock in the Spring of 2017 to further increase The Farm’s number of these wonderful beasts, which can be seen all over the County in relation to our Conservation Grazing Programme.
Roundoak has supplied its Highland heifers to the Kent Wildlife Trust as part of its Conservation Grazing Programme.
Roundoak is working to supply stock to other wildlife trusts across the country. Roundoak are always looking for new grazing projects whether these be for Conservation Groups or individuals with a few acres that need to be kept under control.
The Farm can host a variety of functions, and has been host in the past to wedding receptions, corporate events, summer parties and children's parties.
Kingsnorth Manor Farm campsite.
This year we have opened another campsite at Roundoak's sister farm at Ulcombe. This beautiful site has a number pitches available for both camping and caravaners, and we hope to develop the facilities at this site as the year progresses.
Please do not forget that Roundoak also supply and sell meat direct form the farm including beef, pork and lamb.
Visitors to the farm by arrangement are always welcome - why not pop in and see the lambs and calves!
Anyone interested in finding out more about any of the items in this newsletter - conservation grazing, camping, events or any other aspect of life at Roundoak, please contact Norman (07811 209 409) and Ruth (07969 009509) or the Farm Office (01622 850 471).
The QueEN's Highland Bull arrives in Kent!
Due to the unique relationship that has been forged between Roundoak Farm in Kent and the Queen’s Estate at Balmoral in Scotland, Roundoak are pleased to announce the arrival of a pedigree Highland bull – ‘The Duke’ - to the farm based in Kent.
Norman and Ruth, the owners of Roundoak have been visiting Braemar - near Ballater in Scotland, for over 20 years, where they had the good fortune to meet Dochy Ormiston, who is in charge of the Queens Highland cattle at Balmoral Castle. After a few visits to The Balmoral Estate, The Farm expressed an interest in acquiring stock. As a result, last week, Norman and Ruth drove the some 600 miles with a trailer to meet Dochy, and bring ‘The Duke’ back to Roundoak Farm at Sutton Valence in Kent.
Roundoak is a unique concept set in the heart of the Kentish countryside, with 120 Highland cows and calves and in excess of 700 rare breed sheep including Hebrideans, North Ronaldsays and Borerays. The Farm also has some more commercial stock including a herd of Sussex cattle and some 100 Sussex Mule sheep.
‘The Duke’ will be introduced to our Highland stock in the Spring of 2017 to further increase The Farm’s number of these wonderful beasts, which can be seen all over the County in relation to our Conservation Grazing Programme in partnership with Kent Wildlife Trust, Kent County Council and Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, to name but a few.
The Farm produces a range of high quality meat for sale supplying individuals, local restaurants and butchers; and also sells stock commercially for breeding.
The unique set up at Roundoak receives a great deal of interest, and we encourage visitors on Open days, or by appointment throughout the year to allow others to explore and experience these rare breeds too.
For more information please go to www.roundoak-hebridean.co.uk or call 01622 844491. Those interested can also subscribe to receive our quarterly newsletter, and also follow us at Roundoak on Facebook.
Roundoak Newsletter Winter 2016
The weather has played an important part of 2016, the beginning of the year the season leading up to haymaking was very wet, but this part of the south east missed a lot of the wet weather suffered buy other parts of the country. This is the latest in the Farm's history that the cattle have been left out grazing until nearly the mid part of November. There was a period when there was no rain in this area for over two months and grazing was critical and supplement feeding had to be introduced.
Roundoak continues grow and strengthen its relationships in this area with partners such as the Kent Wildlife Trust, Kent County Council, Medway Valley Conservation Trust - to name but a few. We were however, very sad in 2016 to be forced to withdraw grazing from Loose Valley, this was due to several dog attacks on the sheep, which we could not tolerate any longer.
On a happier note we were delighted that the Farm's continued growth in its relationship with Ashford Borough Council has resulted in further grazing at Singleton on a parcel of overgrow land next to the school. This area of land requires specialist grazing, and the Highland cattle of Roundoak are ideal for this purpose. We would like to thank Terry Jones for his support and hope that this relationship will continue to grow.
We also continue to graze for several private land owners at Court Lodge in East Farleigh, and also at East Malling, and we again supplied Lafarge (formally Blue Circle) with Hebridean Sheep for conservation grazing on their at Halling near Snodland.
We are pleased to announce that there are also further grazing projects being planned for 2017, and would like to thank all our private land owners and local partners for their support. We are always looking for new grazing projects.
new arrivals in 2016!
Regular readers of our Newsletters will have seen the arrival of several newcomers during 2016 to the Farm - both animals and people!
As well as our human friends Nathan, and Laura, we have also been joined by several new animals. In 2016 we acquired a flock of Suffolk-Mules to the Farm, to introduce a more commercial aspect of the Farm, and to work alongside our rare-breed and conservation programmes.
On the cattle front, 'The Captain', our prize Sussex Bull arrived to accompany our herd of Sussex cattle.
On the sheep front - we have acquired a Suffolk Ram called Billy, and also Beltex Ram that is to be crossed with our existing Hebrideans. We will watch with interest the result!
Sasha, the new trainee has also settled in well. She is loved by all at the farm and its visitors, and has terrific character.
Sad news from Roundoak
It is with great sadness this week, that we said goodbye to Jenny, our Farm's original Cocker Spaniel, who died of old age. She will be very greatly missed by us all.
Events and Visitors in 2016!
Roundoak has welcomed many visitors with an interest in the Farm's activities through its gates this year. In October, Roundoak was particularly excited to open its gates to 30 pupils and their teachers from Marden Primary School. With the help of a perfect summer's day, the children spent the day interacting with and learning about all aspects of farm life, from the animals and their welfare, to the vehicles and their use, and generally increasing their understanding and appreciation of the great outdoors!
Roundoak is able to offer farm visits to children, students and individual parties of all ages, and trips can be tailored to suit the needs of the visiting party. (Please note however that Roundoak is a serious operation and not a 'play farm', and welcomes all groups and individuals who have a genuine interest in the Farms activities, especially with regards to the Farm's involvement in Conservation Grazing, and with regards to the Farm's Rare Breeds. Anyone interested in finding out more about our trips can contact the farm office on 01622 844491, and are welcome to arrange a visit to the Farm.
We are also pleased to announce that we now have a Roundoak App available for our friends and followers with links to our website, facebook page, interactive map and giving you easy access to all our latest news, events and updates.
To download the app, please click on the icon below, or visit http://roundoak.appsme.com, and follow the instructions to download.
(Please note this App is compatible for iOS and Android phones)
what next in 2017
The Roundoak website and Facebook page continue to grow and we very much hope that all of our visitors and friends of Roundoak enjoy our brief newsletters, which we will continue through 2017. All the events of 2016 and previous years are well documented on these, and are hopefully of interest to our friends. There are some interesting stories - including the visit to the farm by the Cinque Port Morris Men, when our Highlanders were used in an advertising campaign, and that a few years ago our sheep were featured in the Ewan McGregor film Jack and he Giant Killer!
We look forward to seeing the results of diversifying our animals, and also of our plans to further develop our sister farm at Ulcombe.
Roundoak is definitely planning to host an open day in 2017 - we are unsure as to whether or not this will be associated with Open Farm Sunday or independent, but will let you know the details in due course. We will of course keep our friends updated with regards to all this, and any planned events in 2017 via our website, facebook and newsletters.
The farm is always open to guests wishing to see the cattle and sheep - via prior appointment. With the lead up to Christmas and the New Year, please see that the Farm does have its own produce of beef, pork and lamb available.
Who knows what else 2017 will bring!
norman and ruth and all the staff at the farm would like to take this opportunity of wishing everybody a very happy christmas and a prosperous new year!
ROUNDOAK AUTUMN NEWSLETTER 2016
There have been several new arrivals at Roundoak this summer!
A Busy Summer at Roundoak!
A busy time on the farm!
It has been a really busy month, and there have been considerable changes on the Farm. We have also welcomed two new members of staff!
Roundoak would like to welcome Nathan McKenzie to the team. Nathan joins us from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Nathan has been brought up in a farming background and has extensive experience in all areas of farming life, livestock and machinery.
We also welcome Laura Fleming, who will be working part-time in the farm office as PA to Norman Coles. Laura originally worked as a Social Worker but has joined the team, and works around looking after her three small children!
There have been several events at the Farm this month.
Roundoak was delighted to welcome our conservation grazing partners to lunch under the trees. The weather was unusually kind and we were able to enjoy lunch in the dappled sunlight of our unique five acre woodland area!
We were very excited to hold our first ever Clay Pigeon shoot at our sister farm Kingsnorth - even one year old Jack enjoyed the event.
Spring comes to roundoak
Spring has finally arrived at Roundoak Farm after a very wet miserable winter, and thanks to the April winds and the May sunshine the ground is finally drying out. Lambing is now all but over with a good success rate for all breeds – the Hebrideans, the North Ronaldsays and Borerays.
Spring Conservation Grazing
Once again Roundoak, and its some 140 highland cattle and 500 Hebridean sheep, are engaged in conservation grazing throughout the County for Kent Wildlife Trust Medway Valley and Conservation Trust Loose Valley Amenity Trust to name but a few. The animals’ conservation qualities are of immense importance to the ecology of certain sites looked after by these conservation organisations. Most of the animals are now leaving their winter home at Roundoak at Sutton Valence and our sister farm at Kingsnorth Manor at Ulcombe for these various projects.
New Grazing At Barming
Roundoak have been engaged to graze the Medway river bank from Barming to Teston for a private land owner and also Teston Parish Council. It is proposed that part will be grazed by Highlands and the remainder by Sussex.
First SusseX Calf at roundoak
Roundoak are pleased to welcome their first Sussex heffer into the world. The calf is one of a number expected in the next few weeks, and compliments the existing herd of some 25 cows introduced to the farm last year.
Happy Birthday Jack!
Jack Payne was also welcomed into the world a year ago, and will be celebrating his 1st birthday on 20th June. Jack is a new generation to the family and is already showing great interest in the animals and the machines!
Roundoak is also delighted to welcome The Cinque Port Morris Men to dance outside the barn at the farm on 14th July at 7:30pm.
Roundoak Family Fun Day was a big success
We are so pleased with the outcome of our Family Fun Day that was held on 30 March 2016 to show the public a little about Roundoak. We had baby lambs that the children could pet. Newly born calves, pigs and chickens that roamed the farm yard. Ruth as also did a brilliant job supplying refreshments as well as Roundoak Sausages.
We were a little worried that the weather would not be great after storm Katie but what a lovely sunny day to show of the beauty of the farm.
Busy easter at Roundoak
Easter weekend proved a busy time at Roundoak farm, which is home to to some 130 Highland Cows and over 500 Hebridean sheep. Four calves were born and lambing is gettingunderway wih the first lambs being born.
Roundoak and the coles group have a day at the races!
Roundoak together with the Coles Group attended Charing Point to Point onm Easter Saturday. Although the weather was a little disappointing a good time was had by all guests and staff. Ruth prepared a superb buffet lunch with Roundoak lamb curry and roundoak Highland beef lasagne. Despite not winning on the horses the food was a definite winner!
roundoak supply rare breed boreray, north ronaldsay sheep and highland cows to Cholderton Charlie's Farm
Roundoak with its largest flock of Hebridean sheep, rare breed Borerays and North Ronaldsay sheep were approched by Cholderton Charlie's Farm in Wiltshire to supply them with a North Ronaldsay ram and a Boreray ewe to add to their own collection of rare breeds. The animals were delivered to the farm several weeks ago. As a result of the dialog during the visit, Roundoak were asked by Cholderton Charlie's Farm if it would be possible to have several Highland calves especially for visitors to see over the Easter weekend. The calves were delivered on the Wednesday before Easter and have proved to be very popular with visitors. The calves are on loan from Roundoak and likely to stay on the farm throughout the Summer. It is hoped that the relationship between Roundoak and Cholderton Charlie's Farm will continue in the future.
Rare breed animals visit marden primary school
It was a very special day for the younger pupils of Marden Primary School, when rare breed animals from Roundaok farm visted the school. The pupils were introduced to some of the animals such as Gloucester old spot piglets, sheep including rare breed Hebrideans and North Ronaldsays. There were also som e three-week-old chicks that were hatched at the farm.
The farms working Cocker Spaniels Millie, Sally and Scruff also attended and were a huge hit with the pupils.
This outing for the animals was a first for the farm which specialises in rare breeds. Many of the farms animals are a familiar sight around Maidstone and the Mid Kent area as they are used on many conservation grazing projects.
The farm used its John Deere tractor and Land Rovers to pull trailers which were set up in the school playground. Children were brought out in groups to look at the animals, feed them and ask questions. They all very much enjoyed sitting in the tractor.
The farms owner Norman Coles was there assisted by Tom Wilson and Richard Wise who work at the farm which is based in Sutton Valence. The farm is home to some 120 Highland cows and over 550 Hebridean Sheep, as well as Boreray and North Ronaldsay Sheep. The farm also has a gloucester old spot pig and piglet.
This workshop and road trip to Marden Primary School was a first for the farm and proved a great success, both for the school and Roundoak farm in promoting farming awareness amongst the youngsters and spotlighting the rare breeds and where our food comes from.
There are further school visits planned in the New Year. As popular as this visit has proved it also alleviates some of the stringent health and safety issues that face schools these days when planning school trips.
Braemar Highland games
Norman and Ruth have once again returned to scotland this September and were invited as guest to the braemar highland games. They spent the week and visitied Dochy Ormiston who is the head stockman at Balmoral Castle. Norman and Ruth were shown the many Bulls, cows and calves bred at the castle. It was a wonderful day out and the Queen and her family were in residents as during the week she was opening the new border Railway.
FinN joins the roundoak team
Finn an 8-year-old Border collie has joined the Roundoak team. Fin is a working dog who's previous owners were looking for a new home for him. Roundoak farm with its variety of rare breed sheep were looking for an experienced dog. Fin has an excellent breed line and comes from working stock. He is a very needed asset to the farm which has grown over the last few years. Visitors to Roundoak will see Fin who is a very friendly dog and now a familiar site around the yard.
Henry coles does abstract art at roundoak
Henry Coles the great nephew of Norman Coles spent two weeks in August 2015 on Holiday from Germany at Roundoak Farm. Whilst Henry helped with general duties he also spent sometime doing some abstract art. His vision and concept had not been seen before and you can see some of his interesting drawings below. Henry has now returned to Germany where he lives and is due to commence a new career in Carpentry. All at Roundoak wish him well, and we hope that he will find time to continue with his art.
Roundoak welcomes baby jack, the lastest addition to Roundoak
Norman and Ruth are pleased to welcome baby Jack into the family. On the 20th June 2015 Norman's youngest daughter Sophie gave birth to the gorgeous bundle of joy and Norman is already preparing him for farm life.
roundoak welcomes tom wilson
Due to the continued expansion of Roundoak's activities especially with regard to conservation grazing we have had to take on extra staff and the farm has welcomed Tom Wilson. Tom has a broad experience in the farming world and has many contacts. He has had a variety of jobs since leaving University. He has also been involved in both Arable and Livestock farming. He has also spent time with FGS based at Pluckley.
Winter feed all in. Last week, one of the hottest weeks allowed Roundoak and her sister farm time to complete the grass harvest.
Sussex Cows arrive at Roundoak
Roundoak farm based at Sutton Valence is one of Maidstones best kept secrets. The farm is home to one of the largest flocks of Hebredean Sheep in the UK numbering over 500 and some 90 plus Highland Cows. These unique animals are used in conjunction with conservation grazing around central Kent for such groups as Kent Wildlife Trust, Loose Valley amenities association, Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, Teston Parish Council, Kent County Council to name but a few, In locations such as Teston Country park, Hothfield Common and Bidbury wood Canterbury.
A small heard of 18 Sussex cattle have been acquired to compliment the stock. It is commonly agreed that Sussex cattle are one of our oldest breeds, having inhabited the Weald of Sussex and Kent from time immemorial. The Sussex has many of the characteristics of the other rare breeds at Roundoak, maternal breed traits of calving, milkiness, temperament and the ability to thrive on a low input/extensive system of management.
The heard will be used in the farms conservation grazing programme.
Roundoak welcomes visitors by prior appointment and supply’s local butchers and the public with its own Beef, Lamb and pork.
The farm can be contacted on 01622 844491.
roundoak featured in caravan club magazine
roundoak highland featured in aberdeen asset management advert after photo shoot at the farm
roundoak hebridean sheep graze hothfield heathland for kent wildlife trust
Stories from roundoak
This section of our website features many activities of interest and milestones related to the development of the farm.
Click the links below to read our stories: