Burghley House | Outdoor Lambing on the Estate
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Burghley Land & Nature
20 May 2024

Outdoor Lambing on the Estate

Lambing season is a spring highlight and one of the most exciting times of the year on the Estate. Following two prosperous years of lambing in the fields, our newborns continue to flourish at Burghley.

This year’s diverse mix of 850 breeding ewes have just finished having their lambs, many of which you may have already spotted playing across the lake near Lion Bridge and further up amongst the 700 acres of Burghley’s private High Park, carefully managed by our shepherds, Brian and Ruth Jones.

The flock - since boosted by a further 200 Burghley retained ewe lambs - consists of Lleyn and Welsh hill Speckled Face ewes, with 80% having twins this year, 66 ewes giving birth to triplets plus two hard-working sheep having four lambs each.

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Our shepherds have lambed Burghley’s sheep outdoors for two years on the run, following on from two years indoors at Pilsgate. The outdoor system has proven far more successful in terms of ewe and lamb health. Delivering naturally in the open outdoor environment promotes better animal welfare, encourages natural behaviours, reduces the risk of disease or infection transmission, and requires less intervention from the Shepherds. We're seeing more numbers than ever and the flock is thriving!

Keep an eye out for the fluffy lambs dancing around the fields as they quickly grow alongside their doting mothers. With well over 1500 newborn lambs on the estate this spring there’s plenty of photos to be had of our newest additions to the Burghley flock.

Brian Burghley shepherd

Meet our Shepherds, Brian & Ruth Jones

Hello! We are husband and wife team Brian and Ruth Jones, the shepherds in charge of the flock at Burghley since 2018 and tasked with establishing a thriving - and now fully closed - flock of Welsh sheep. Brian is from the Welsh borders and is the son and grandson of shepherds, whereas Ruth is from Kent and has to go a little further back to find true farming blood! However, livestock farming has long been a way of life for us - albeit hard work physically - but one of the most rewarding vocations there is.

Ruth Burghley shepherd

Working for Burghley

We are incredibly lucky to work on one of - if not the most - beautiful estates in the country, regularly moving sheep across fields and lanes designed by Capability Brown and travelling across the lake looking under Lion Bridge towards Burghley House itself. The views are spectacular no matter the season or weather, and we’re sure the sheep are thriving in large part due to the idyllic fields they enjoy grazing daily.

While the tups enjoy a bucolic five weeks in the company of the breeding ewes every autumn, the vast majority of the 1500+ lambs are born within the first two to three weeks the following spring. This makes for an incredibly frantic lambing season, with tiredness levels cranking up in direct relation to the number of ewes having given birth, many times all at once, in the same corner of the same field! However, it is a privilege to be able to help the ewes bring hundreds and hundreds of new lives into the world in such fantastic surroundings.

Brian & Ruth Jones | Burghley Estate Shepherds

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