Our new Dalefoot Compost is some of the highest quality compost you will find for making soil blends, starting off seedlings or top dressing beds or containers. It is made on a Lake District hill farm from locally sourced Bracken & Sheep Wool, both fully sustainable renewable resources.
Using old gardening recipes they have worked to develop a range of wholesome composts that are farm-made and do what they promise. Wool compost™ is farm-made on a traditional hill farm, Dalefoot, in the small valley of Heltondale in the Lake District National Park. Their Whitefaced Woodland and Cheviot sheep flocks run up the bracken covered fells to Loadpot where they live and rear their lambs and graze side by side with our herd of native Fell ponies. Grazing is an important part of maintaining this special landscape that is so treasured by the millions of visitors who come to the area.
The ever increasing bracken cover is not only taking over the landscape, but also represents a problem to the hill farmer. The gathering of flocks has become very difficult through waist high bracken stands and this very aggressive plant competes with other native vegetation to the extent that other plants fail and available grazing is reduced. Bracken has become a problem – ecologically and economically – so what better, more sustainable solution than to harvest it in a managed way, thereby husbanding the beautiful hills of the Lake District and utilising a resource in a way that it used to be many years ago.
Traditionally, here in the Lake District, bracken has been used as an animal winter bedding material, which was then spread on the land in Spring to fertilise the fields. A rich source of humus with a wide range of trace elements ensured that the meadows and pastures got off to a good growing season. Unfortunately due to modern agriculture encouraging the use of chemical and synthetic fertlizers, bracken manure is in less demand so we can now use it for our own soil!