About Us

The history of our farm

About us

Traditional family farming has always been at the heart of Embleton Mill, and today there are three generations of the Robertson family living in this beautiful corner of Northumberland.

A passion for the highest agricultural standards, and a dedication to land stewardship are absolutely at the core of our family farm. We strive for excellence in all aspects, whilst understanding our responsibility to preserve and enhance the land for future generations.

All of us are deeply passionate about the local area and local produce, and will gladly wax lyrical about the delights Northumberland, and specifically the area around us, have to offer.

Our History

Part of what was once known as the Great Coastal Plain, Embleton South Farm, as Embleton Mill was then known, has been farmed by the Robertson family since the 1860’s, when George Robertson became tenant of both Stamford and Embleton South Farm before his son William went on to purchase the farms, approximately 2,000 acres, in1935.

William, a far sighted and ambitious man, oversaw the transition from horse power to mechanisation. He planted the double fenced hedges and wide margins that criss-cross the farm and now provide valuable cover and food for wildlife. During the intensive farming drive of the mid twentieth century these wildlife corridors remained sacrosanct, protecting the wide ranging biodiversity of the farm. William oversaw the planting of woodland for game cover and laid concrete tracks through grassland to protect the leys from the churning of the extremely heavy early tractors.

During this time land was given to the parish for the purposes of a sports field, this is now the cricket pitch; the water authority to provide clean water and a sewage works for the people of the parish; the agreement of wayleaves through the farm to connect the village with the electricity board.

Support for all of these utilities continues to this day in one form or another, servicing the needs of a rapidly expanding community.

Post war the William Robertson Homes Association was founded to provide low cost housing to retired employees, widows and widowers of agricultural and allied industries. The first four houses were built on Quakers Row, Embleton, followed by a further eight in Longhoughton and three in Alnwick. To this day WRHA remains a private charity, to which all nine committee members give their time freely and for no more recompense than a cup of coffee and a chocolate hob nob at the annual AGM. David, his brother Iain, who now farms Stamford, and David’s eldest son James sit on the committee with David taking over the chairmans role from his father Seorus, who in turn took the reins from William.

In 1963 George (Seorus) Robertson inherited the farms, although with death duties at 90% he had to mortgage everything to allow him to, in all intent and purposes, buy them back again. To realise a steady cash flow much of the land was put down to grass and rented out to local farmers as grass park lets, gradually being brought back into arable cropping as and when finance allowed.  As a family, we owe him so much for taking on this enormous burden.

Subsequently the farms were divided amongst Seorus’s children with David moving to Embleton Mill in 1980, farming in partnership with Iain until 2007. The farm has always been a traditional mixed farming unit, using a rotational cropping system, with grass fed cattle and sheep grazing the ground, at the same time putting organic matter back into the soil.

Over the past twenty five years, with the advent of supermarkets and increased importation of food, farming has faced increased financial pressure leading to diversification enterprises including holiday lets and Eleanor’s Byre.

Agriculture is ever changing, no-one knows what the future holds, but the age old mantra remains;
“Look after the soil and it will look after you.”

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