With 5,000 rolling acres of woods, fields and parkland to spoil them, the Somerleyton Estate is well-placed to rear its own heritage livestock, well-fed and free-ranging on the rich pasture of its farms and parkland.
The listed historic parkland in front of the Hall is home to the Somerleyton herd of Welsh Black beef and flocks of Welsh Mountain sheep (both chosen in homage, and with sound husbandry in mind, to the Welsh roots of the Crossley – Somerleyton family), indulged with lush grass and plenty of space to roam naturally.
Lord Somerleyton says: ‘I wanted a native breed that would do well on unimproved grassland and wild ground, so I went over to Llandovery and got the first 7 cattle and we went from there. We’re now using the meat here at our pubs and our shop.’
Rearing heritage livestock such as rare breed Welsh Black cattle is what this historic Estate and its lush parkland were designed for and this is reinforced by excellent comments received by happy customers and appreciative diners in the Estate restaurants.
The Estate’s rare breed meat production is just one part of its slow, natural approach to agriculture, environment and conservation of the natural habitats under its protection.
The Estate’s own two restaurants, The Duke’s Head in Somerleyton village and their boutique inn-hotel The Fritton Arms, as well as the Hall’s event catering team make great use of their home-harvested heritage meats, crops and varied kitchen garden produce as well as the foraged hedgerow ingredients and wild game.
The family and chefs are firm believers in the strong connection of the landscape, nature, history, geology and farming, and the value it brings to conserving the Estate and helping wildlife to flourish whilst producing the tastiest produce.