Our family, livestock and our care for the environment
Our small family farm is based in the beautiful South Leicestershire countryside overlooking the grassy Welland Valley. We are passionate about the livestock we rear and the landscape that we manage.
Our Family – Butchers, Farmers & Graziers
Our family has been based here at Black Horse Farm for nearly 60 years and has been farming in the district for generations. Livestock farming has always been the main trade of the family although artisan butchery has been practised since the 1930’s. When (grandpa) Dick Clarke moved here to Slawston in the early 1960’s, he converted one of the outbuildings into his butchery and processing area and started trading meat successfully from the farm – his sausages held legendary status!
Our pride for the very best food from rural, middle England isn’t a new thing. Great Grandpa Tom Clarke played a staring role in a wartime 1943 Government film showcasing the importance of farming in Leicestershire. The name of the film was a nod to Leicestershire and its surrounding counties – The Grassy Shires and is where we get our brand name from!
Dick Clarke (grandpa), the original owner of Black Horse Farm
Environment, Nature and Health
We passionately believe that animal and human health are both linked to diet. The way we manage our farmland undoubtedly makes our animals healthier and in turn produces exquisite, healthy, nutrient dense meat. Our grassland contains a mix of different grasses, herbs and clovers that massively enriches the local wildlife. The way we graze the fields also captures more carbon in the soil than other grazing systems. Wherever possible, we aim to mimic nature across our farm and avoid using any artificial fertilisers or pesticides on the land.
Bees at work in our grassy fields
Our Lleyn sheep graze our grassy fields all year round. These are a hardy breed and thrive in the fresh air and on grass diets. In the wintertime when the grass fields get wetter, some of our older lambs are grazed on diverse arable crops – essentially a luxury salad bowl for sheep! These diets help to produce wonderfully tender, healthy meat with the perfect lean meat to fat ratio.
The cows on our farm are Beef Shorthorns. This native breed has origins dating back to the late 18th Century and, just like our sheep, thrives on extensive grass diets. In the wintertime the cattle are housed in large strawed barns to help protect our fields during the wettest months.
The health and welfare of our sheep and cows is vital to us. We are accredited within an industry recognised sheep high health scheme and are farm assured under the Red Tractor scheme.
Our Beef Shorthorn cows on the farm