Sheepfold takes its place in Eden village garden

Sheepfold takes its place in Eden village garden

The finished sheepfold structure

Buzy Lizzie has been one of four local creative businesses combining their skills and enthusiasm to create a sheepfold (complete with Herdwick sheep) as part of a garden design at Cliburn near Penrith.

Liz designed the dry stone wall sheepfold structure as part of a wider scheme for the garden, which belongs to Alice Underwood. Alice just happens to be a partner in a business called Sheepfold and the addition of a specially-commissioned ceramic sheep’s head from local potter, Clare Farley of Pinfold Pottery, has created a unique feature.

“It all seems to fit together beautifully,” says Liz. “We all knew each other separately but Alice’s garden and sheepfold have drawn together our different threads into one project.”

The brief for the garden design was to extend the cultivated area of Alice’s garden beyond its current boundary and into her adjacent field. “Alice needed a specific design and drawings for the planning application and I worked on these,” says Liz. “The main aim was to create additional space for growing vegetables and fruit and also to enable Alice to grow traditional dyeing plants. We decided to incorporate the sheepfold as a sheltered seating area to make the most of a focal point overlooking the Lyvennet.”

Alice takes up the story: “Liz’s design for the garden was great and I loved the idea of a sheepfold. Sheepfold, the business, is me and another wool enthusiast, Sue Parker. I’ve been experimenting with natural dyes for several years and was keen to grow more raw materials if I could. The business also means that I’ve built up a network of Cumbrian craftspeople and I was already using Clare’s pottery plant markers in my vegetable garden with our courgettes and runner beans.”

Clare Farley of Pinfold Pottery at Newton Reigny, offered the final piece in the sheepfold puzzle when the idea for a Herdwick head for the sheepfold was born!

“I use rough clay, called crank, which is ideal for this type of work,” says Clare. “It’s strong, frostproof and it suits the Cumbrian landscape. After research on a friend’s farm, the Herdwick features took shape and I hope I’ve captured the breed’s rugged strength and gentle nature.”

Clare’s creation is now in pride of place in Alice’s new sheepfold and Liz’s planting scheme and the whole garden are coming into their own.