If you’ve ever dreamed of tilling the soil and rearing livestock on your own small patch of Eden, you’ll love these blogs about smallholdings. Whether you’re serious about making small-scale farming your life, or just enjoy a good gardening read with your cuppa, these bloggers have plenty of humorous, informative content to share.
Let’s Grow Wild
Planting trees on your smallholding might seem like a strange way to improve the land, but that’s just what Georgina at Let’s Grow Wild suggests. Find out how more trees mean cleaner water, better soil, a longer growing season for crops, and more.
A veritable treasure trove of wildlife, farming, gardening, and animal husbandry articles and guides, Let’s Grow Wild is a must for anyone who loves the countryside and would love to know more about sustainable smallholding. Always fancied keeping bees? These guys provide the basic info you need to get you started.
Living On One Acre or Less
Is it possible to feed your family from one acre? The organic farmer and blogger behind Living On One Acre Or Less, Sally Morgan, proves it by doing just that. She also demonstrates that even tiny plots can produce abundant harvests. Take the keyhole garden from South Africa: a central compost bin feeds the soil around it resulting in a sustainable cycle of growth, decay, and fertilisation.
As well as being a highly experienced no-dig gardener, organic small holder and farmer, Sally is a prolific writer. Specialising in children’s educational writing, she has so far completed over 250 books, including some excellent works for adults on her pet topic of organic gardening. Checkout her latest – it’s just what we all dream of – The Healthy Vegetable Garden.
The Clean Goat Smallholding
Smallholding is a heavy job, as a perusal of the list of yard and path laying materials arriving at The Clean Goat Smallholding confirms. 6.5 tonnes of sand and gravel, 10 tonnes of slate, plus another 30 tonnes penciled in for delivery. Plenty to keep husband and wife smallholders Emma and Steven busy – then there’s the livestock, the crops and the workshops. Animal husbandry is a big part of their sustainable plan, and their blog has lots of tips for those new to raising livestock.
“This is our real life and our home, come on in,” says Emma. Having always dreamed of a little farm to call her own, she’s now living the dream and happy to share her experience. Having transformed a traditional cottage and 5 acres nestled in a North Wales Valley, into a thriving operation, this couple also run workshops and discuss how to earn an income from holiday accommodation.
My Home Farm
Have you ever considered using some of your autumn pumpkin crop for experimental home brewing? That’s just what Mars at My Home Farm did. His pumpkin beer is based on a traditional malt brew but with the addition of some slow caramelised pumpkin from his own plot. The recipe looks intriguing and may very well turn out to be delicious.
Until they chucked in their jobs for a slower pace of life in the rural Welsh borders, Mars and Kirsten were stressed out city dwellers. Theirs is a tale of DIY, renovation, sustainable living and a lot of gardening. Check out Mars’ shed transformation – every plot holder, whether large or small, needs plenty of storage space.
Higher Oak Farm
Here to tell you all about the birds, bees and eggs, are the Robertson family at Higher Oak Farm in Cheshire. A visit to their site will help you to get to know your fowl – Light Sussex (upright, alert, and usually docile), from your Norfolk Grey (active forager and good layer), and your Old English Pheasant Fowl (exceptionally hardy and a solid layer, but flighty as they come).
In transition to certified organic status, Higher Oak Farm belongs to Amelia and Kirk, a father and daughter partnership who both used to work in the sportswear business. Now they’re all about rearing the very best welfare produce at their 16-acre rare breeds chicken farm. If you’re passing, do check out their shop and bakery – the sweet treats look delicious.
Rural and Rustic
If you’ve always fancied staying in a shepherd’s hut, this one might just fit the bill. Situated on Maryline and Peter’s three acres of heaven in the Welsh Hills, not only is the accommodation cosy and the views spectacular, you’ll be contributing to making tourism greener too.
Peter and Maryline have been working their Rural and Rustic smallholding since 2015, and have plenty of experiences to share, along with some nice recipes (especially for those who enjoy a good hedgerow forage). Anyone for elderberry and rosehip syrup, with sloes and haws? It sounds like a wonderfully delicious immune booster.
The Accidental Smallholder
Have you got smallholding-related questions? The guys at The Accidental Smallholder (TAS) know just how hard it is to acquire the wide range of skills required to be a successful smallholder. That’s why they set up the TAS forum. A one-stop-shop for all your queries, it also introduces you to a wider community of like minded people – a most valuable resource.
Rosemary Champion and her other half, Dan, farm a 12-acre holding in Angus, on the east coast of Scotland. There they keep Coloured Ryeland sheep, Shetland cattle, laying hens and table poultry. This blog has so much to offer, with everything from introductory courses on keeping sheep to a recipe for a sumptuous looking mushroom soup with parsley and garlic.
If you dream of relocating to somewhere wild and remote, Dee at Happy Homestead provides a thoughtful reality check, pointing out that relocation to the island of Eday in Orkney “offers no amusements or distractions and people are often left alone with nothing else to do but to face reality and their inner feelings, which can make them feel even more confronted by their unsolved issues.”
Not that she and husband James have any doubts although, owing to a passion for homemade wine, they do benefit from a fine cellar – anyone for a drop of rhubarb and apple wine? In fact, so happy is the Happy Homestead that two have now become three! If you’d like a heads up on what island croft life is like during pregnancy, here’s where you’ll find out.
Middle Farm and Cottages
“We hope to demonstrate how and why farming on a small scale and for flavour, still has a place in the British countryside,” say Sam and Chris at Middle Farm and Cottages. To prove their point, they offer three Gold Award cottages for farm stays which will give you the chance to experience, at first hand, the joys of country living and farming.
Along with their children, Maddie and Connor, these guys raise rare-breed British Lop pigs, critically endangered Soay sheep, Aylesbury ducks, a mix of chickens and of course there’s the farm cat Max. Follow the family’s farming adventures online, or better still, book a stay and enjoy great hospitality and all the veg you can pick and eat.
Small Plot Big Ideas
“This latest farrowing for Fifi was one of the smoothest I’ve ever had... apart from it starting at 2am,” says Richard at Small Plot Big Ideas. If you’re interested in pigs, do check out Richard’s fascinating post about the birth of his Tamworth piglets – it comes with plenty of info for the professionally interested plus there’s a nice video of mum and babies, some of which seem to have fallen asleep mid-suckle.
Starting from 3 raised beds in a suburban garden, and ending up in 15 acres in the North Pennines, a visit to Richard’s site is well worth it, both for informative posts on livestock management and for a glimpse into a rural way of life. If that’s not enough, book yourself in for self-catering accommodation and find out how lovely the area is.
Could you inherit 40-acres of abandoned farmland and turn it into a sustainable organic business? If you like a challenge, you’ll enjoy reading about Geoff’s adventures at Brimwood Farm, Suffolk. From farming stock, but previously a city-dweller, there’s never a dull moment as Geoff brings this piece of the English countryside back to life.
Join Geoff as he shares 100 days of farming via his YouTube channel. This series is highly recommended viewing and offers a day-by-day taste of what farming from scratch is really like. Do also check out Geoff’s farm diary – you’ll love his pics of the most recent arrival – a surprise kid.
Channel 4’s Grand Designs called Ed and Vicky’s crumbling cowshed conversion near Winsham, Somerset, “a mad but interesting project.” Get a bird’s eye view of “one year, one wedding, four pigs, nine chickens, six ducks and a couple of sheep later [as] Ed and Vicky [create] their self-sufficient, off-grid home: Mello View”.
Now farming five acres and growing and rearing much of their own organic produce, Ed and Vicky offer you the opportunity to join their ‘pig club’ – your chance to buy a piglet which they’ll raise, slaughter, and butcher for you. Failing that, book yourself a stay at their glamping shed and enjoy this couple’s incredible charcuterie fresh from the shop.
Our Smallholding Adventure
“It’s a really bittersweet feeling,” says Tracy at YouTube channel, Our Smallholding Adventure. She and partner Steven have gone to see the pigs one last time before they go off to the abattoir. Not only do the couple explain the role of these animals in regenerating the land, but also demonstrate how to butcher the pigs. It’s great watching for anyone interested in livestock rearing and meat prep.
For a full tour of the smallholding, check out Tracy’s August Plot Tour which takes in the ducklings before moving on to what they’re planting for winter and a round-up of what’s growing in the greenhouse. This channel offers a great insight into living on a smallholding in the countryside of the North East of England.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of some of the best smallholding blogs and YouTube channels in the UK. If we’ve missed one of your favourites, do let us know via our social media pages.
Lead image: Shutterstock