6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

A day in the life of a Kentish shepherd

PUBLISHED: 12:14 19 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:03 20 February 2013

A day in the life of a Kentish shepherd

A day in the life of a Kentish shepherd

Continuing our series 'down on the farm', we meet sheep farmer Denis Wimble to learn all about his typical working day

Name: Denis Wimble


Job title: Sheep farmer


Where: Burmarsh, on the edge of Romney Marsh


How did you start?
Sheep were part of my life from a young age because I was brought up on a family-run farm.


Who, or what, was your inspiration?
My father always wanted to own a traditional Romney flock utilising old pasture I was able to fulfil his ambition.


How long have you been working with sheep?
Since 1966, coming up to 44 years, but even before that I was helping my father. Sheep have always been a part of my life.


What sort of training did you have?
At Hadlow College, where I completed a general agriculture course.


How is the flock made up?
Romney sheep its the traditional breed for the area*.


How have you diversified?
My wife, Diana, runs our tearoom. It is called Lathe Barn and is a quite large enterprise sitting 104 indoors and about 50 outside. We attract a lot of coach parties from a wide area. Most of the food is cooked on the premises and Diana prefers to use local, seasonally available ingredients whenever possible. The tearoom is open all year but the days and times vary according to the season.


Have you diversified in other ways?
We have a childrens farm which we open from the beginning of April to the end of September. We have rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, chinchillas and various other animals. The farm is particularly popular with younger children in the three to about eight-or-nine age group. We also have a nine-hole putting course which they find great fun.


Describe your working day
I get up, have breakfast and am out on the farm by 7am. When were lambing, it can be very much earlier and I can be working very long hours. I start the day by feeding the sheep and then I feed the animals at the childrens farm. Looking after animals takes up a lot of time and there are always a lot of jobs to be done.


How are the sheep looked after?
We are very traditional. Because the grass largely consists of old pasture, the drainage is better than newer leys. We put the rams in on 5 November every year and we lamb indoors from the beginning of April. By then the weather is normally sufficiently warm for them to go out to grass after about 24 hours.


What are the sheep fed?
The quantities very much depend on the weather conditions. We feed mixtures that include barley, oats, beans and sugar beet. This last winter was a long, tough and cold one and we fed far more concentrates than in recent years. Fortunately for us, although not so good for arable farmers, cereal prices have reduced a little in recent months.


Do you compete with the sheep?
No - but both my older brothers are also in sheep. Gordon has a pedigree flock, is a member of the Romney Sheep Breeders Association and he is quite successful.


Marks out of 10 for job satisfaction?
I think I would rate it at nine and that is very nearly perfect, isnt it?



Lathe Barn
Donkey Street
Burmarsh, Romney Marsh TN29 0JN
01303 873 618


Romney sheep
The official description of the typical Romney sheep is as follows: head wide, level between ears, with no horns and no dark hair on the poll. Eyes should be large, bright and prominent and the mouth sound. Face in ewes full, in rams broad and masculine in appearance. Nose and hooves should be black. Neck well set in at the shoulders, strong and not too long. Shoulders well put in and level with the back. Chest wide and deep. Back straight and long, with a wide and deep loin. Rump wide, long and well-turned. Tail set almost even with the chin. Thighs well let down and developed. The face should be white, and the skin of a clean pink colour. Ribs should be well sprung. Legs well set, with good bone and sound feet. Sheep should stand well on their pasterns. The fleece should be of white colour, even texture and a good decided staple from top of head to end of tail and free from kemp.


More from People

If you love being active and out in the fresh air, there are plenty of ways you can combine both with helping your community

Read more
Monday, June 10, 2019

Yannick Chastang on parental influence, a youthful calling and his passion for conservation

Read more

Wondering whether to enter this year's competition to find Kent's Best collectors? Take inspiration from 2018 winner Angela Clark

Read more

Wherever you go in Kent you'll find people just like us pounding the streets, parks and waterways. So why are we all running?

Read more
May 2019

Nicola Leverington, aka the Wedding Dress Surgeon, on achieving the perfect fit and her new training courses

Read more
May 2019

Fine Art graduate Arianne Mills on having quite possibly the best job in Kent

Read more
April 2019
Monday, April 15, 2019

With Royal British Legion Industries celebrating its centenary this year, we look at how the Royal British Legion village in Aylesford supports veterans through employment

Read more
April 2019
Monday, April 8, 2019

Plastic pollution is spoiling our beautiful coastline and damaging wildlife, but we can all do our bit to help

Read more
March 2019
Monday, April 8, 2019

Are your pre-school children getting enough outdoor play? Kent Wildlife Trust's new Nature Tots course could be just the solution

Read more
March 2019

Meet our 2018 Junior Collector Cameron Jarvis, 11, whose passion is for all things turtle related

Read more
April 2019

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life