Campton & Chicksands

“Will ewe be my mother?”

Neil's Notes

June 2005

August 2005

January 2006

 Spring 2006

My owners Louise and Andrew Burr thought you might like to hear from me and so they let me e-mail you a quick note to let you know I am no longer confused!!
My name in Neil and I was born in Campton on the 1st December  2004. I now know my Mum, she's the big black Dexter (if there is such a thing) and she's called Diamond (that's why I am called Neil !)
I now have a new Aunty in Campton, she's a Red Dexter called Shelia, she also lives in my field.
The sheep in the picture are due to lamb in March, this will me give lots of new friends and the village some new sounds!
I am a bit of a strange fellow as I think I am better at herding the woolly backed people than my owners collie Brock, (he is in training at present and I like in there and help him), he says I get in the way, that's why they have moved them up to the new field on the corner next to Kiln Farm!!
I will keep in contact with you if like and keep "ewe" informed of the lambing and the possibilities of a new brother or sister for me
Neil Diamond the Campton Calf

Spring 2006

Dear Campton

Well what a spring we've had!  We were finally let out when spring came at the end of March, I didn't think we would ever see the grass again, there is only some much hay and carrots a bull calf can eat!

Our lambing started with a flurry in both speed and snow, we had 29 lambs from 12 ewes (seven sets of triplets, three sets of twins and two singles) must be something in the Campton water!

They are now all growing well and fast with the lush grass that eventually came along with the late spring.

This year the sheep had the pleasure of the Campton school reception year to visit; they behaved wonderfully and are a credit to their school. They decided to name a lamb Ron- we had to name his brother "later" so when they are together.

The Dexter cows have been busy as well, calving started in early May in Top field (next to Priory Road); the neighbours along Priory Road had quite a few practical midwife lessons from Louise and Andrew. Bo the cow started first in the middle of a heavy rainstorm and produced a long legged boy called Tie! 

Then mum had a new brother for me, his name is Geezer as mum is Diamond, then we had another bull calf from Clover, he was named "Liquorice" by the  year fours of Campton School.

Sheila the red cow managed the most spectacular birth, she thought it would be great fun to give birth in the middle of the last hail storm of Spring and just as Louise and Andrew sat down for dinner with friends for the first time this year- the dinner was ruined but the day was memorable with a James Herriot impersonation from Andrew Shelia finally produced a lovely heifer calf named Kylie! (I think Andrew lives in hope!), they can often be seen looking over the gate on the Gravenhurst Road.

We also had some Collie pups arrive in January - he's a sly one that Brock, more youngsters to care for but I'm glad to say they all found good homes to work for.

This year there appears to be more rabbits than grass; they are everywhere, good hunting for the buzzard in the early mornings, although they are doing considerable damage to the grass and hedges the youngsters are very cute!

The lambs are due to finish early August and then the cycle starts again for both the sheep, cows and farmer.

I am also growing like a good 'un and will be signing my column over to Kylie in the Autumn for all the details and news in this corner of Campton.

All the best

Neil the Campton calf

June 2005

Dear Campton,
Sorry its been a while in writing, the has been an awful lot happening in my corner of Campton!!
The woolly creatures (I think they are sheep but the do look like scary clouds when I pinch their food!) disappeared in early march and came back with tiny woolly creatures, there was loads of them.
They are now all skipping around and a great laugh to chase!!.  They is a pet lamb called Colin, he is very friendly and likes to follow people around so he causes great fun when the sheep come in for the toe nail clipping time.
The strangest thing happened the other day! I was gently grazing in my corner when 30 children from Campton School came to visit us, Andrew and Louise took a lesson for and hour and showed the children food chains, the sheep and me and then introduced Colin to them, cant see what a cute little cuddly lamb has got that I haven't!.
They loved him and the children and teachers were very well behaved. Louise and Andrew said it was a pleasure to have them come over. Even Brock the collie was well behaved and showed off to the children by jumping the fence, I could do that but don't want too!!!
There is some new baby Dexter's coming in early June to the corner! One is called Clover three and she has a calf called shamrock (four leafed Clover!) and then there is Beau and her calf,  so I will have loads of fun with them I'm sure.  Louise is going to ask the school to name the calf, I will let you know his name when I know!
Well must be moooving on know, loads of grass to nibble and there are some strange black rabbits living in the corner of my corner buts that's another tail
Neil the Campton calf

Me hiding in the grass with my aunts
August 2005

Dear Campton,

Its time to bring all the news from my corner of Campton!

Well, the new calves and mums arrived in June, what a laugh that was!

We all eventually moved up to the top field to get to know each other, I have not had so much fun since the sheep got out down in Manor field! I decided it would be a great idea to charge head long up and down the field with the new calves in tow followed by some rather distraught cows, we made so much NOISE. Brock the collie said it was a new version of the "Campton Races"

The new bull calf was eventually named Clint by Jess and megs (my owners daughters) (It should have been the school but Andrew forgot to ask them and by the time he remembered the school had broken up for summer.)  He's called Clint after Clint Eastwood character The High Plains Drifter (he didn't have a name either)

You may have noticed that the lambs were weaned in mid July, they haven't shut up yet and its now Mid August!!, they are growing reasonably well considering the British summer we have had, it seems we have gone from drought to monsoons in the space of a few days, the grass doesn't know whether to grow or shrivel

We are now all down on the Water Meadow (walk No 2 from the Campton and Chicksands web site ( )

You can come a have a chat but please leave your dogs at home as we are a little nervous of them.

We do have new chap with us for the summer, he is a Dexter bull called Caffery, he is an 18 month old prize bull ( he got a smashing rosette at the East of England show) who's come to keep my mum Diamond and aunties company. Louise and Andrew are preparing for the new arrivals due in May next year.

He is there until the middle of September so do look out for him. I was a bit naughty the other day though, I decided it would be a great wheeze to go and walk through the electric fence, then the hedge and trot

down Campton Road, I did get a bit spooked and thankfully two nice men put me back in the field along with Karen from Kiln Farm, so many thanks to them!, shan't be doing that again-too many smelly metal things whizzing around!

I must sign off now, it looks like rain again and I need to lie down to prove the old wife's tale is true!

I will e-mail you all again after the harvest and when the lambs have been sold!


Neil the Campton calf

January 2006

Dear Campton,

Sorry its been such a long while since my last note, but things have been rather busy!

You may have noticed that we are not in any of the fields at the moment, we are now snug and warm in a big barn
with ad-lib hay, deep warm straw and a particularly nice salt lick- Cow heaven!, I say let the snow and rain do it's worst...... Louise and Andrew would rather not have the snow!

Well the lambs have all been sold and some of the local people of Campton seem to have enjoyed them as well! (New orders for next years crop taken now)

The ewes have been sent off to the "boyfriends" for a few weeks and are due back at the end of January to Top Field on Priory Road, they have all been ultrasonically scanned to see if they have twins or not (another modern addition to the farmers skills). Some of them appear to have triplets so that should be fun in the cold month of March when lambing begins!!

I was moved with my aunts and mates from the Water Meadow in late Autumn after eating all of the luscious traditional meadow grass, I must say we did a particularly fine job on it and I am pleased to report I did not go into the trailer without a fight - managed to clear a four foot high hurdle with no faults....hmmmmm... wonder if there is an opening in the British Equestrian team for the London Olympics?

Whilst I was down in the Water Meadow we regularly spotted the Campton Black Squirrel along with Buzzards, Herons and a Red Kite! (not the type with a string attached) there was some spectacular mists, Campton is indeed a gem of a village to live in.

We had the school over again for a Geography lesson, some how the Cow pats and a free rein seemed better than listening to Andrew talk about the difference between Agriculture in Bedfordshire and the Peak District. Sir Stanley Odell also joined in describing the old methods of farming in comparison to today's methods. (Bet they didn't ultra sound sheep!). That daft collie Brock showed off again by jumping the gates (not quite as good as me) and playing that little known Campton sport of Brussel Sprout bobbing in the water trough, if you want to know more ask any of the children in year four of Campton Lower school, but be prepared for an odd story!

Some local news. A lovely new hedge and  trees have been planted along the far end of Top Field including an Evergreen Oak in Memory of Audrey Odell. It's growing well and will be another asset to Campton whilst providing shelter for us in a few years.

Some rather more exciting news is my mum and aunts are due to calve at the end of May, so I will have some more friends to play with (although mum says I have to be careful as I am a bit clumsy!), looks like Louise and Andrew won't be sleeping this spring!

Well, I must sign off now as a new bale of hay is being dropped in and I am feeling a wee bit peckish! I will report in the spring on the lambing and impending arrivals from mum.

If you are interested in the Dexter Breed a good place to visit is, great for details and information on Britain's smallest breed of cattle.


Neil the Campton Calf

photography by courtesy Andy & Louise Burr

Shefford, Bedfordshire, UK (map)

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