“The biggest issue we face on the farm is unruly dogs - and I don’t necessarily mean badly behaved ones, just ones not on their leads. Dog owners need to understand that they could be the most well behaved dogs in the world but if they go anywhere near wild birds, sheep, or cows they will scare them which could be fatal.”
Sally grew up in the coastal village of Tynemouth and worked in corporate marketing for years, but after meeting her now husband Steve, decided to leave her 9-5 behind and move to a stunning 125 acre working farm near Matfen in Northumberland.
Now, aged 47, Sally proudly refers to herself as a ‘farmers’ wife’ and happily runs the farm along with Steve and her two young children apprentices. She is also an avid writer and has recently penned her first book; ‘The Diary of a Pint-sized Farmer’.
We caught up with Sally to discuss her transition from marketer to a farmer, her favourite part of Northumberland and how even well-behaved dogs can cause havoc to local wildlife.
“Most days, I used to sit in the work canteen and plot my escape! Then when I met Steve, I finally plucked up the courage to leave the corporate world (and polyester suits) behind. I now have a completely different lifestyle. Farming can still be a cause of anxiety, and we’re permanently living hand to mouth, but the pace of each day is much slower. I have time to rest and to think and to plan.
“Moving to Northumberland definitely helps with self-reflection and planning. There are so many quiet and undiscovered places here. I hate crowds personally so my favourite place is Simonburn just north of Hexham. There’s not much there except beautiful views, a lovely tearoom, plus a church and cemetery full of history.
“The biggest issue we face on the farm is unruly dogs - and I don’t necessarily mean badly behaved ones, just ones not on their leads. Dog owners need to understand that they could be the most well behaved dogs in the world but if they go anywhere near wild birds, sheep, or cows they will scare them which could be fatal.
“Another huge problem, I think most farm owners have is parking in private areas. We have lots of gateways to keep our animals safe and roads out of the farm to enable us to get out with our vehicles full of crops. If these are blocked, especially in harvesting season, it’s a disaster and impacts our business massively.
“We also have a public footpath on our farm, and people often don’t stick to it which leads to our crop fields being ruined by novice walkers. It’s not that they are purposefully disrespecting our livelihood but they simply don’t know that they are walking all over it.
“I love how popular Northumberland now is and seeing as we have a tearoom and glamping site on our land, it’s great for the businesses we support. However, people need to read up on the Countryside Code before visiting. The biggest piece of advice I could give would be to treat private farms and land like it was their own.
“I hate getting into altercations with anyone so I am really hoping this campaign will help raise awareness of the problems we face and stop situations like this happening. It would be a much more peaceful time for everyone if that were the case."