Discover The Wild Shepherdess: From farming passion to Instagram stardom & efficient farm management!

Rachel Rose


| May 20, 2024

Harriet Foster-Thornton aka The Wild Shepherdess

Meet Harriet Foster-Thornton, aka The Wild Shepherdess, a 28-year-old sheep farmer in North Lincolnshire. Harriet’s journey into farming saw her transition from a bustling marketing career in London to the tranquil countryside to pursue her passion for agriculture. Her farm primarily focuses on finishing lambs, as well as utilising their by-products like sheepskin and wool in her business ventures.

Harriet expertly manages a commercial flock of Texel and Texel cross ewes, comprising nearly 100 head. Additionally, she oversees a select flock of 20 Pedigree Blue Texels, a collaboration she shares with her fiancée, who brings expertise from the world of cattle farming. Harriet adeptly navigates the lush grasslands owned by her parents’ farm and other local contacts, maximizing the potential of the landscape.

Though often found tending to her flock single-handedly, Harriet finds invaluable support from her partner, especially in undertaking larger tasks such as vaccinations and weighing. With deep roots in farming, Harriet’s family history provides a rich backdrop, yet she charted her own course, opting for sheep farming over the more traditional arable farming path. The family ties extend further as she frequently sources hay, straw, and barley from her father’s farm.

Harriet’s journey into sheep farming commenced at the age of 21 when her parents bestowed upon her four Suffolk sheep. Fueled by her passion and a relentless work ethic, she expanded her flock with 50 cade lambs while balancing the demands of a full-time marketing career. As her love for farming blossomed, Harriet made the courageous leap from marketing to full-time farming, empowered by the growth of her sheep farming enterprise and accessories business.

Harriet’s guiding principles of finding joy in one’s work, coupled with determination, hard work, and perseverance, serve as a beacon of inspiration to aspiring farmers. She encourages them to seek valuable work experience on local farms and to glean insights from seasoned farmers. Through her remarkable journey, Harriet exemplifies the transformative power of passion, hard work, and innovation in forging a prosperous farm business.

Showcasing the by-products of British sheep production on Instagram

Alongside the farm Harriet has a platform to share her shepherding journey and promote the by-products of rearing sheep for meat. She started her Instagram account thewildshepherdess back in 2017, looking to showcase all things sheep, from meat boxes to sheep skins and accessories.

“Instagram is a great platform for education and sharing important messages like giving other females the confidence to farm.”

The Wild Shepherdess as a business started by selling lamb meat boxes to friends, family and local people/pubs through word of mouth. The diversification of sheepskins and accessories began in 2021 after Harriet saw all her sheepskins go to waste once the meat was boxed. Harriet then turned her focus to the by-products of British sheep with a strong belief in trying to use every part of an animal possible.

“I never knew how many people were supportive of women in agriculture. My Instagram page took off when I was featured in the Daily Mail for being a female farmer sharing my story.”

Being a creative person at heart, Harriet mixed this with her passion for farming and The Wild Shepherdess business really came to life. She sustainably sources raw sheepskins from local farmers and abattoirs, alongside her own, she cures and hand prepares sheepskins before they are professionally tanned in the UK. She also works with local farmers to help utilise the by-product, wool.

“My aim is to always stay real on Instagram, to share the good, the bad and the ugly! Some people think I share too much at lambing time, but I think it’s important to educate people on the highs and lows of farming – afterbirth and cute lambs are both as fascinating to me!”

Enhancing performance, compliance and saving time with Herdwatch

Harriet has been utilising Herdwatch for the past two years, and she couldn’t be more thrilled with its performance.

“Getting started with the app was a breeze,” she remarks.

Sheep by Herdwatch

“The fact that there’s a free trial available to everyone was incredibly helpful in assessing its suitability for my needs. Setting it up was a piece of cake, and diving into its functionalities was seamless.”

Herdwatch, a leading farm management app, has become an essential tool for farmers like Harriet. With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, it simplifies various aspects of farm management, from recording treatments to tracking medicine stock.

“Herdwatch has truly revolutionised how I handle purchasing medicines and recording treatments,” Harriet continues.

“No more scribbling on muddy, torn paper! With the app, I can update treatment records instantly. It’s incredibly easy to stay on top of recording, ensuring that my records are always compliant and up-to-date.”

One of the standout features of Herdwatch is its ability to streamline record-keeping, ensuring that farmers maintain accurate and compliant records with minimal effort. This not only saves time but also enhances farm efficiency and regulatory compliance.

“Plus, the ability to track medicine stock and order in advance is a game-changer,” Harriet adds. “I’m particularly impressed by the barcode scan feature, which is not only ingenious but also saves me a ton of time.”

Herdwatch’s inventory management capabilities empower farmers to track their medicine stock levels accurately and reorder supplies efficiently. The barcode scan feature allows users to quickly add products to their inventory, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors.

“I’ve been singing Herdwatch’s praises to fellow farmers and will continue to do so,” Harriet concludes. “It’s become an indispensable tool for streamlining farm operations.”

With over 22,000 satisfied users, Herdwatch has established itself as a trusted solution for farm management needs. Whether you’re a seasoned farmer or just starting out, Herdwatch offers the tools and support you need to simplify your farm management tasks and focus on what you do best—farming. Don’t hesitate to download the FREE app today by clicking the button below and join Harriet and thousands of other farmers benefiting from Herdwatch!

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