Dalefoot Composts features in ‘Back to the Land’ with Kate Humble on BBC Two

AN ENTERPRISING Cumbrian family firm that makes peat free compost from sheep’s wool, and restores damaged peat bogs across the UK, has featured in a new BBC TV series championing rural entrepreneurs.

Dalefoot Composts, based on a 120-acre family farm in the hills of the Lake District, was highlighted on ‘Back to the Land’ presented by Kate Humble on BBC Two on Tuesday (21 March). The documentary series travelled the UK meeting the growing band of rural entrepreneurs who have forged their own innovative products and businesses from the land in the Lake District, Devon and Pembrokeshire.

The programme took a behind-the-scenes look at Dalefoot’s eco compost-making using wool and bracken from the Cumbrian fells, joining the firm during the busy lambing season and then again for the bracken harvest. It also highlighted the specialised peat bog restoration work that the Dalefoot team undertakes across the nation for organisations such as Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage.

The family who run Dalefoot Composts, Jane Barker and husband Simon Bland, were filmed throughout the year, for the third episode of the series which showcased companies in the Lake District. Their 11-year-old daughter Arabella also made an appearance, helping Kate and her parents with lambing.

Jane said: “It was a wonderful experience meeting Kate and the film crew, being taken through a process of reflecting on what we have achieved so far, and helping us celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dalefoot Composts.”

The enterprising couple began manufacturing compost and selling mail order 20 years ago, prompted by diminishing returns from their sheep farming business. Using Simon’s practical farming knowledge and the scientific input of Jane, who holds a PhD in Environmental Science, they began their composting using bracken – a by-product of their environmental and habitat restoration work – before adding wool to the mixture.

As well as helping the growing number of gardeners and horticulturalists who want to switch to peat free, the compost finds a novel use for British wool – good news for struggling sheep farmers. Their sustainable Wool Compost range, which is now widely used by gardeners across the UK, boasts wool from their own flock. Benefits include:

  • Natural water retention of wool fibres means up to 50% less watering.
  • Wool provides a steady, slow sustained supply of nitrogen.
  • High levels of natural potash from the bracken promotes flowering and fruiting, healthy growth and hearty crops – NO need for any additional plant food.
  • Made from totally renewable resources with great environmental benefits.

The use of bracken in Wool Compost is also beneficial for the local Cumbrian landscape, as the spread of this aggressive, waist-high plant in the Lake District makes grazing difficult and impacts upon native species. Harvesting improves the biodiversity of flora and fauna, in particular ground-nesting birds and butterflies.

Tel: 01931 713281              Email: info@dalefootcomposts.co.uk      @DalefootCompost


For further information please contact Emma Mason on emma@emmamasonpr.co.uk 07762117433