Copyright © Lower Chapel Marsh 2016  All rights reserved

About Us

The farm has progressed.  Sustainability has been our aim along with conservation. PV has been installed and supplies all our power. A Ram Pump moves spring water from the bottom of the farm to a tank at the top and this then gravity feeds water to field troughs and to the main farm. Ram pumps are a very old, hardly changed and efficient system that moves water by water power.

 

 

We are Terry and Lis Johnson. The middle photo was taken by Freedom Food for their 2009 Recipe Book promoting their Higher Welfare Veal - I am the one with the ‘windy hair do’ and gets called the Boss! The other is Terry who does all the hard work and happily lets me be the ‘Boss’. I deal with paperwork and techie stuff - hence the greying locks! Quite like giving the orders too!!  

 

The Farm’s history can be traced back to the Doomsday Book and Tax records of the time - The area was known as La Chapelle and Axnolre and was owned by the Church. Our neighbours have some buried remnants of the Chapel and we have the Marsh. The old hamlet of Axnolre no longer exists, but the many footpaths and bridleways that served the area and connected to Beaminster are still in use today.

 

We moved from our original smallholding just the other side of the Dorset Downs - the Sheep, Cats, our sheepdog Jasper and all our equipment came too. Terry comes from a farming background and we had long wanted to upsize but needed to stay in the area, so finding our new home took time. Unfortunately by the time we had found our FARM we had not long sold our small suckler herd as the access to the rented fields and barn they had used for several years was no longer available, so we started something a little different when we were approached to produce Veal for a well known Supermarket.

 

The woods and marshy fields are abundant with wild flowers and are loved by the insects and butterflies. The wild bees that nest in the old oak appreciate the early gorse and willows. We strive to return the ‘improved’ fields back to flower filled meadows but this takes time and patience. Snipe nest in the rushes, Buzzard and Kestrel hunt over the fields. We also have a several of RSPB’s Red and Amber birds found here during a survey. Dorset Wild Life Trust also found ‘treasure’ with a number of Dorset notable wild flowers flourishing, and our rare Wet Woodland is designated as a Site of Nature Conservation. We are very fortunate that we are able to provide such a rich variety of habitats.

 

Planning for our barns and home inevitably took quite a long time.  While we were getting that sorted the boundaries were all sheep fenced and the lower fields divided to make them more manageable and to enable us to move the sheep around to fresh grazing and back to the yard without always going through the marsh. In 2006 we were finally able to start work on the buildings. Terry had spent many years working as an Agricultural Engineer, so after the main structures were erected he roofed and clad them himself with help from our lovely neighbours and local firms when needed for the larger jobs.

We bought the farm in 2004 - just three huge fields, some wild and overgrown woodland with quantities of barbed wire in it and a very high wind tunnel of a barn. The Marsh, in the middle field was a mass of glorious golden Kingcups when we first looked at the land and that was it - We were hooked! We went home already planning our future.

 

 

Some of the old Bridleways have other history attached to them. The one that goes through our Farm is known as the Monarchs way…… part of the route taken by Charles II when fleeing to France after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

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