270 ewes from the college's Kirkley Hall and Carlcroft flocks
will lamb from now until the weekend so there will be plenty of
new-born lambs marking the start of spring to see.
Kirkley Hall Farm is a seventeenth century estate of 190 acres
located in Ponteland, just outside of Newcastle. Over 700 students
are currently studying a range of subjects at the land-based campus
and this weekend provides valuable hands-on experience to
agriculture students that are the next generation of farmers.
John Charlton, Farm Manager at the college, said: "We have a
flock of 270 predominantly mule ewes at Kirkley as well as 100
Scottish Blackface ewes drafted down from our Carlcroft
"The Blackface ewes are crossed with a blue faced Leicester to
produce our mule ewes, which are in turn crossed with Suffolk and
Texel rams to produce a quality lamb. Carlcroft up in the
Coquet Valley farms 750 Scottish Blackface ewes with a further 300
replacement ewe lambs kept each year."
John said: "We are a real working farm so students get
experience of both hill and lowland sheep as well as learning about
the business side of things too."
The college's Kirkley Hall campus also offers courses in
horticulture, arboriculture, veterinary nursing, equine and outdoor
activity leadership with dedicated facilities including an outdoor
activity centre with high ropes and zip wire and 1,330 square
metres of commercial greenhouses and vast gardens.
A family open day is on over the weekend of Saturday 22 to
Sunday 23 March when there will also be tours of Kirkley Hall
zoological gardens available where visitors will be able to meet
the lambs, if lucky see live lambing and of course see our
extensive animal collection of over 130 species including lemurs,
marmosets, meerkats, reindeer and wallabies to name but a few.
For details of admission and opening times visit
www.kirkleyhallzoo.co.uk. For details of courses available at
Northumberland College visit www.northumberland.ac.uk.