Gates Farming

The Gates Farm sits on a hillside, next to the picturesque village of Cold Overton. The acres farmed run from Cold Overton in Leicestershire into England’s smallest county – historic Rutland. The farm is a mix of arable and pastoral, rearing cattle and sheep. The location of the farm is just a stone’s throw away, sited next to Gates Garden Centre and Farm Shop. With the close proximity we can ensure that we keep food miles to a minimum by supplying, where possible, beef and lamb to our on-site farm shop butchery, providing customers with a real farm to fork experience.

Our herd of cows

Our herd of cows was established by Jack Gates, fourth generation of the family to join the business, which was started in 1948 by his great grandfather, Fred Gates. The herd has become a favourite of Gates Garden Centre customers, and can be seen grazing the land around the centre during the summer months. They are mostly beef Shorthorns which are one of the oldest breeds of native cattle in the UK. Much admired for their unique red roan coats, the Shorthorn is a multipurpose breed. Docile, maternal, excellent forage utilisers and incredibly high-quality meat producers. These cattle are playing a vital role in reinvigorating our farm’s soil biology. 

During the winter months the herd comes into our state of the art ‘mootels’ where they enjoy golden straw beds and silage made on site. They calf between the months of February and April before returning to the fields with their young onto the spring grass. This nutrient rich grass has been fertilised by manure produced by the cows whilst inside for winter.

We run a strict high welfare policy with all our animals and strive to ensure they have a life second to none. We finish our cattle on a predominantly forage based system, but when we do buy in additional feed, we only purchase this from our local feed mill, Manor Farm Feeds, who are located 3 miles from the farm, once again ensuring food miles are kept to a minimum. Our livestock receives no GM feed and never will.

Our flock of sheep

Our flock includes a mixture of ewe breeds, including North Country Cheviots, Texel and Kerry Hill. Their lambs mature at different times of year to ensure a staggered supply to the onsite farm shop butchery. Texel ewes generally produce lambs that are ready early while the Kerry Hill lambs are slower to mature.

Our flock grazes the farm in rotation with the cattle but also play a huge roll in grazing our native young woodland areas. These areas are farmed in a completely regenerative way receiving no chemical fertilisers or sprays, so the sheep are vital for keeping weeds at bay that may otherwise challenge our young trees. The flock graze on an abundance of different species of plants while in the woods, adding to the flavour of our meat. Our home-reared lamb is available year-round from Gates Farm Shop where the team of award-winning Hambleton master butchers, who have been sourcing the finest local produce for over 15 years, can advise on all aspects of cuts and cooking ideas.

Breeding livestock

Our beef herd consists of 125 breeding females made up of predominantly pedigree Shorthorn along with some pedigree Aberdeen Angus. The offspring of which are either retained within the herd as breeding replacements or are taken through to fattening between 24-30 months of age. We also retain a small number of bull calves to be sold as breeding bulls to other farms.

Our flock of 250 Texel and Kerry Hill breeding ewes produces between 400-450 lambs each year. Around 30 of these are retained in the flock as replacement breeding females, who have their own first lambs at two years old. The rest of the lambs are mainly fattened off grass and sold through Gates Farm Shop and other local outlets.

Arable Crops

We currently grow mostly wheat with some oats in rotation on the arable land with the straw being retained for cattle bedding, then put back into the land as manure.  

Restoring woodland

Since Gates Farm was established, we have created around 70 acres of new woodland, utilising various native tree species to compliment and support the local flora and fauna of the area. Restoring habitats means we now see a great number of new wildlife species on the farm, who are making it their home. Every year we continue our planting schemes, and the Gates Loyalty Card users make a valuable contribution too, with a tree planted for each £100 transaction made.

Creating a habitat for wildlife

Jack’s father, Nigel Gates has a passion for reintroducing the hedgerows of old. Over years of arable expansion in UK farming, we have lost many miles of our native species hedging to make fields larger for machinery. At Gates Farm, Nigel has planted over 7 miles of new hedgerows, putting nature back at the heart of the farm by creating wildlife corridors, linking every field to another, and promoting an abundance of new life.   

We have created three lakes on the farm in recent years with careful attention to maximising habitat for a great many species of flora and fauna. Now these areas have established themselves we are recording hundreds of invertebrate species utilising them and therefore encouraging the wider ecosystem of the farm to thrive.

The hedgerows and woodland that we have planted and continue to expand, and the creation of areas of water, not only contribute to the offsetting of the overall carbon footprint of the Gates business but also bring enormous public good to the local area. This investment in our environmental sustainability will become part of the Gates Farm legacy for generations to come.     

Inspiring the next generation

During 2022 we were proud to become a location that the Country Trust use to bring inner city schools to learn about agriculture. As Farmer Hosts, we welcomed 100 children over 3 days to the farm and enjoyed educational talks and games, including rounding up the children with Roy the farm sheepdog and reseeding grass by hand. We look forward to welcoming more groups from this important organisation in the future and hopefully inspiring more young people into the agricultural industry.

Gates Farm Shop

If you’d like to sample the beef and lamb reared on Gates Farm, you can buy online or in-store from Gates Farm Shop. With a key focus on offering the finest locally sourced produce, Gates Farm Shop promises customers a true farm to fork experience. To find when the farm shop is open, please see Gates Farm Shop Opening Times or for more information, please visit:

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