Welcome to Stirley Farm

Credit: Joanna Richards

Livestock Assistant Maz explains about the history of Stirley Farm.

Welcome to the Stirley Farm blog! My name is Maz and I have recently taken over as Livestock Assistant at the farm, helping to look after our herd of Beef Shorthorn cattle.

For those of you who don’t know, Stirley used to be an upland dairy farm until the late 1990s and has a history of being a dairy farm as far back as the 1800s, once owned by the Shaw family.

Unfortunately, the 1990s saw the farm fall into disrepair and become derelict until it was finally abandoned in 2002. The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust then approached Kirklees Council with a view to taking over the site. After much community consultation and involvement, Stirley Farm was incorporated into the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust family in 2011.

There has been an incredible amount of hard work over the past few years restoring the farm buildings, creating a hub for learning and nurturing the garden, orchard and bee hives, not to mention tending to the 240 acres which the farm now covers.

We also have a herd of Beef Shorthorn Cattle who are at the heart of the farm. They are a native British breed who are hardy, good natured and well suited to the variable landscape here at Stirley. They are excellent foragers and help us to care for the landscape by encouraging wildflowers to grow by keeping the grass short which in turn helps to support the local natural wildlife to flourish. 

Cattle moving to Cemetery Block

Cattle moving to Cemetery Block

Credit: Marianne Fairclough

The farm is managed by a small team and an army of volunteers who come and help us do everything from clearing the yard to fencing, installing troughs, doing wildlife surveys, tending to the garden and helping to feed and care for our cattle.

The farm lies on the urban fringe of Huddersfield which raises many challenges, but the Stirley Team are dedicated to managing the land to enable wildlife to flourish and bring the community closer to nature. This blog aims to keep you up to date with news from the farm and to give you information on certain issues that we need your help with. I hope you enjoy!

 

Are you aged between 16-25 and looking to work in conservation? Our 'Tomorrow's Natural Leaders' programme offer year-long placements for young people - and Stirley Farm is one of our locations. Find out more.