Piggy heaven in idyllic Rutland

Forty-acre Chater Valley Farm in Pilton, Rutland, specialises in rare-breed pigs and cattle. They are one of very few farms in the UK to rear woolly Mangalitza pigs, a breed renowned for producing exceptional bacon and very tasty meat. Farm owners Lesley and Malcolm Gough held an open day last week to show what goes on on their idyllic farm.

Seeing the wooded areas of Chater Valley in which the pigs are kept was a real pleasure. They are tranquil, spacious and well-cared-for – a superb environment for the animals to grow and fatten. The Goughs have invested heavily in high-quality fencing and domed pig ‘accommodation’ and it shows. If they made Centre Parcs for pigs, Fox Covert Farm would be it.

In addition to the Mangalitzas, Fox Covert Farm is home to Large Blacks, Gloucester Old Spots and Saddlebacks.

The other string to the farm’s bow is miniature Hereford cattle, which as well as producing great meat, are known for their good temperament and docility. Part of the reason for choosing to farm beasts of a calm nature is that Lesley plans to use the animals as therapy for children and families living with autism.

Fox Covert is also currently running a ‘Grow-a-Porker’ scheme, which enables customers to grow a pig (eventually bound for their freezers!) on the farm.

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Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and dog. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.