Mayfields Farm

40 acres grassland farm

At only 40 acres, Mayfields Farm may be small, but it is beautiful and every aspect of it has been considered for wildlife. It was donated to the CRT in 2004 by Greta McDonough and is based in the quaint village of Themelthorpe, in the parish of Foulsham, Norfolk.

Tenant Farmer, Sarah Jenkins has a small flock of breeding pedigree Norfolk horns, southdown and Scottish blackface sheep on the small-holding, but her main activities are related to the traditional skills of shepherding, passing this heritage skill on to future generations and training sheepdogs and their handlers.

Sarah Jenkins is also the CRT's Education Officer for Mayfields Farm. She hosts a number of school visits as a part of the MOSAIC education programme. 

A traditional orchard of indigenous trees was planted at Mayfields Farm not long after the CRT took over. At 10 years old, the orchard is still in its adolescent stage, but will soon be reaching maturity. Sheep and lambs graze around the trees making it a beautiful spot to sit and take in the atmosphere and forget about modern life for a few moments.

Sarah Jenkins and Countryfile's Margherita Taylor
Another highlight of the farm is the wet woodland, which is rare. The unusual habitat attracts a wide range of different species. A raised, accessible footpath runs through the wet woodland to allow everyone to enjoy it from a safe perspective which leads to the red squirrel enclosure. 

Our red squirrels on Countryfile

We are delighted that Mayfields Farm is part of the East Anglian Red Squirrel Group. We have three dedicated red squirrel breeding enclosures housing up to two pairs at a time. We hope to breed two litters from each pair every year with each litter giving us up to eight kittens to re-introduce into the wild in areas that do not have a red squirrel population, such as Anglesey in North Wales.

Sarah Jenkins, volunteers along with Chrissie Kelley from East Anglian Red Squirrel Group featured on Countryfile in 2019. During the episode, the Countryfile explored how Sarah trains sheepdogs and their handlers, breeds red squirrels in the new-build luxury squirrel house and maintains the grasslands that she new as a child. 

BBC Iplayer


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Tenant Farmer/Dog Training: Sarah Jenkins

Running in sheepdog trials for as long as she has been shepherding sheep, Sarah has competed at the highest levels, having twice represented England at the International Sheepdog Trials and qualifying with two dogs in the 2002 Bala World Trials. She has also judged many trials in England and Wales, and in 2005 was invited to judge a series of trials in the USA. In 2012 she was also invited to judge at the Dutch Open Sheepdog Trials.

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Dog Training/Sales: Caitlin

Caitlin is Sarah's daughter and has grown up training working sheepdogs alongside her. She has been shepherding all her working life and has her own small grassland farm, trains her own dogs and those of other people.

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Dog Training/Sales: Nell

Nell has been involved in working dogs all her life, and grew up watching both sheepdogs and gundogs being trained and worked. Although she has not been involved in sheepdog trialling she has trained working sheepdogs that have gone on to be very capable of doing the job the job required of them. She has been training and working gundogs for both the beating line and picking up, and has done so in many shoots. Nell has a practical approach to training and enjoys watching the partnership grow betweeen dog and handler whilst training a dog that is fit for the job.

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Events and Bookings: Kath  

Kath is not a dog trainer but has her own sheepdogs which she works and trials.

Her talents lie in the organisation, administration and book-keeping side of Mayfields Farm, and is responsible for the adminstration of Nearly Wild Camping and Event Hire at Mayfields.Kath has worked in the accountancy world all her working life and is the current treasurer of our local East Anglian Sheepdog Scoiety as well as performing other admin roles.

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Sarah Jenkins, Education Officer, Mayfields FarmCRT Education Officer: Sarah Jenkins

Both of Sarah's parents taught at various points in their lives - education was always a been in her blood and sowed the teaching seed whether teaching how to train a dog or teaching children the importance . I am very excited about the natural world and the importance of food source. 

Mayfields Mosaic Education

Education Volunteer: Jen 

From a very early age Jen has had a passionate love of, and interest in, the countryside. She has qualifications in botany and teaching, with over thirty years of teaching experience in schools and field centres, twenty of them as head of a small village school. Jen has her own flock of Portland sheep and enjoys working with her three border collies. She lives on a small farm with her husband Paul, where as well as the sheep they grow about 450 varieties of top fruit. The farm is managed to encourage a diversity of wild-life, both plant and animal. Jen’s involvement with Mayfields is mostly with education and conservation.