Windleden farm has been in the same family for several generations.
The farm keeps mainly Swaledale sheep on the high moorland surrounding the farm.
We also keep a small flock of Whitefaced Woodland sheep (also known as the Penistone sheep) at Windleden farm that are a native breed to the area but are now classed as a rare breed.
We take some of these sheep to show at the local agricultural shows and the Great Yorkshire Show.
Until 2010 the farmyard had a series of pens in it that were used to sort sheep and handle them for various husbandry duties. Since 2010 all the handling of sheep is done in the modern clear span buildings that provide better facilities for both sheep and man.
This building was originally the barn with an adjoining top mistel used for keeping cattle in during the winter.
During the summer the barn was used for clipping/shearing the sheep. The top mistel was used for bringing the sheep into to keep them dry and have them at hand for shearing. Above the mistel was a hay loft that was used for storing hay in during the winter but also for putting sheep on at shearing time to keep them dry. Access to the loft was through what is now the north facing bedroom window when the ground to the gable came right up to the barn wall.
This was the bottom mistel that was used for keeping cattle in during the winter. As Windleden farm is remote the farm had to be self supporting with basic food. The farm always had a house cow, this was a cow that came into the bottom mistel to be milked by hand to provide milk for the house. Usually there was plenty of milk available to feed some calves so after the cow had been milked, a calf was allowed to suckle the cow. Milk is now bought for the farm. No cattle are now kept at Windleden farm during the winter.
The kitchen/dining area was the stable where work horses were kept before tractors became popular.
It was also used to keep sheep dry at shearing time.
Above both the stable and bottom mistel there was another loft. This was used in the winter to store loose hay to feed the horses, cattle and sheep before modern machinery came along, after which little bales of hay were stored on the loft to feed the animals.
During the summer the loft was swept clean of the hay and dust so that wool fleeces were kept at shearing time until it was taken to the local wool merchant.
The sitting area that overlooks the reservoir was called the pig styes which were divided into 2. We used to keep some sows that had litters of piglets that were reared for pork and taken to the local market.
The pig styes were originally built of brick in the early 1900’s but were rebuilt in stone that was taken out of the floors of the barn when we started the conversion work.
The farm has been improved over the years to bring it to a better standard of living.
Before the mid 1950’s there was no running water, no electricity, or telephone at the farm.
In the mid 1950’s spring water was piped to the farmhouse which was brought from a spring 1 mile away. Until then the water had to be carried from a well that was in the farm yard.
In the early 1960’s a telephone line was taken from Dunford Bridge to the farm.
In 1968 mains electricity was taken to the farm also from Dunford Bridge.
In 2010 it was decided to demolish the old damp and cold farmhouse and build a completely new dwelling in 2011/2012 using more modern building materials but retaining the character of the original farm house. The farmhouse now uses ground source heating from a bore hole.
A bore hole was also sunk for the drinking water which supplies both the farm house and the new holiday cottages.
Planning was granted to convert the adjoining stone barn to three holiday cottages and conversion work commenced on the stone barn in November 2018.
Windleden Farm Holiday Cottages opened to its first guests in August 2020.