Tombreck is a hill farm on the northern bank of Loch Tay. Its 240 acres encompass a strip of land from the loch side at 120 meters to 420 metres up the side of Ben Lawers, with over half the farm above the A827.
Within its boundaries are woodlands, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI, sites of several old settlements, and arable and grazing land. Its south facing aspect and fertile ground has meant that there is a long history of human activity on the site, from prehistory to the present day.
Today we are in the process of restructuring the farm and the way it works. The tree planting has radically changed the field system by creating 15 or 16 individual small fields with wide woodland shelter belts. Along with the reduction in sheep numbers this is giving us the opportunity to do some new and exciting things on the farm.
Permaculture Ideas for Tombreck
Agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials (trees and shrubs) are deliberately used on the same land-management units as agricultural crops and/or animals, in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In agroforestry systems there are both ecological and economical interactions between the different components (Lundgren and Raintree, 1982). This definition implies that:
agroforestry normally involves two or more species of plants (or plants and animals), at least one of which is a woody perennial;
an agroforestry system always has two or more outputs;
the cycle of an agroforestry system is always more than one year; and
even the simplest agroforestry system is more complex, ecologically (structurally and functionally) and economically, than a mono cropping syste
This map of the farm shows some of our early ideas for agroforestry at Tombreck.
We have a pedigree herd of free-range KuneKune pigs at Tombreck. They live outside all year in small family groups foraging in the woods. The sows build elaborate nests out of bracken, grass and moss in which to have their young.
The pigs are allowed to grow slowly and we wait until they are one year or eighteen months old before slaughtering and turning the meat into delicious sausages, bacon and other pork products.
KuneKune means 'little and round' and this breed of pig originates from New Zealand where traditionally they lived alongside the Maori people. They are very friendly pigs and some people keep them as pets.
The farm shop operates on an 'honesty box' basis and is in the Cart Shed Studio in the Tombreck farm courtyard. We opened the shop in 2014 in order to sell our pork products and free range eggs.
As most of the produce is from the farm, the stock will vary throughout the year, and can include frozen meat such as venison, lamb, hogget and mutton as well as pork, plus preserves, herb products and sometimes fruit and vegetables.
This little shop is popular with those 'in the know', so come and stock up before we sell out! Sometimes we do special offers such as a whole animal butchered to your specifications, so watch out for those deals. Our next special will be 'hogget' (mature lamb) in November, with venison as usual throughout the winter.
Because there is so much work to do around the farm, we welcome the assistance of 'wwoofers'‘
'WWOOF is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non monetary exchanges, thereby helping to build a sustainable global community.’
Our wwoofers generally stay for about one month at a time and get involved in all sorts of tasks including gardening, animal care and feeding, building work, butchery and packaging, and as this picture shows, helping to plant trees.