Amanda's the best known shepherdess in the Yorkshire Dales but far from being the only one. At Firbank near Sedbergh, overlooking the Howgill Fells is the wonderfully named Shacklabank, home of Alison O'Neill, sometimes known as the 'Barefoot Shepherdess' thanks to her love of walking bare foot and feeling the land underfoot. Alison delights in living quietly on her small farm, woven to the landscape that is dear to her. You can make an appointment to visit her farm, meet her sheep and sheepdogs or to walk with her. Alison is also passionate about creating beautiful clothes and products out of wool - sustainable fashion, made locally.
If you'd like to stay on a working farm, meet sheep, and see how farmers work in partnership with nature, you will enjoy spending time in either the bunkbarn or holiday cottage at Hilltop Farm in Malhamdale, farmed by Leigh Weston and Neil Heseltine. Staying there, you'll have the chance to see their Swaledales, Mules, Blue-faced Leicesters and Black Wensleydales. Neil and Leigh are leading the way in looking at how farms can be more sustainable environmentally and economically, constantly seeking the right balance and to increase biodiversity on their farm
If you already had hundreds of Swaledale sheep on your farm, how would you feel if your husband interrupted your Christmas lunch to ask you to pop outside and help him with some sheep? Glenda may have felt like it was business as usual but Chris had a special surprise for her - two Herdwick ewes. Not everyone's idea of a perfect Christmas gift when you've already got a few hundred other sheep but luckily Glenda was delighted. This is just one of the tales Glenda tells in her blog, and that you may hear if you choose to stay in her B&B, holiday cottage or shepherd's hut near Keld where you can experience the sights and sounds of everyday life on a working hill farm.