And The Surrounding District


8. The Farming Year and the Common.

The farms around the common range in size from 6 sons

to 200 acres, and they are all mixed in nature,

producing more than one type of crop. As one would

expect. because of the availablility of the common,

most have sheep and/or cattle. as well as fruit, mainly

damsons, plums, cider apples and perry pears.

The sheep are of several breeds, mainly cross-bred.

with a large proportion of Suffolk blood, as well as

crosses with Welsh, Kerry Hill, Border Leicester, Hill

Radnor etc. The cattle are also nixed with Friesian,

Hereford, Angus and Dairy Shorthorn being well

represented.In winter, as long as the weather is not too had, the

cattle and sheep are turned out on the common to

prevent the poaching up of the in-farm pasture by

trampling. They forage about, finding what they can,

but are brought in at night for feeding in the sheds or


Some cattle are turned out with their calves. as single

sucklers, and others are brought in at night for

suckling calves kept in sheds on the farms- The calves are sold off, when ready, as store cattle. ie, for fattening up by farmers with more lush land.

The ewes drop their lambs from the end of February

onwards and today most are brought in for lambing, hut

there are still some which give birth on the common - n

rare sight for visitors from town (but, please. from H

distance, and no interference!)

During the winter, hay etc is sometimes put out on the

common during the day to keep the sheep near home. it

is often thrown on the gorse to encourage the animals

to keep it grazed down a bit.

After lambing, the ewes and lambs are turned out on the

common again. during the day, as before. It is usually

about May when a good ‘bite’ develops on the common and

until this time, bringing in at night and feeding close

to home is important to prevent straying.

Shearing and dipping is carried out in early Juno and

most of the lambs  are sold, again as store-lambs,

between August and September. Some time after the sale

of the lambs, the ewes go to the ram, or tup. for

mating which is timed as far as possible to produce the lambs after the worst of the winter.

All cattle and sheep on the common are identified with

a mark to show to whom they belong. It is interesting

to the spot the marks, and also useful, as if a local

sees a flock straying through Welland, he knows who to

contact. so they can be brought back quickly.

By  Med Snookes

A handbook for Locals and Visitors