Digglum Bestiaruim ~ The Digglers' Crest

The Digglers

We have several volunteers who help out at the Digglers' home. They do a variety of tasks from helping with the maintenance of the field and garden, to keeping the animals company. Below are some of the experiences which our volunteers have encountered.

A young man, Dale has started helping at Diggle with the sheep and general farm work. He is keen to train as a farm manager. The charity has set him a course of study in sheep management, woodland management, field management and farm management. Dale will also be spending time with Joel a local sheep farmer to learn the trade. The course the charity has set will stand him in good stead if he wishes to attend Agricultural College. Dale hopes to become ultimately our farm manager and have his own sheep at Diggle. You can follow his progress in his monthly log that will appear on our Land Army page. Good luck, Dale there is some hard work and studying in front of you!


Jacob's Experience

Hi again just me Jacob sorry for not blogging sooner it has been one of those days every day in lockdown last year. Well where do I start George!! As you know on the news he cut his leg and was put on antibiotics we were told it was foot rot at first but it wasnít. This week has been a weird one David from the Yorkshire vet came on Tuesday with the film crew to check Georges foot I thought he was getting better but I was wrong David wanted to come back on Thursday and amputate his toe. Kath Dale and me was shocked but we knew it would be the best outcome for George I was worried for George on Wednesday night I had a little cry my mum told me not to worry as George is strong and will be okay. She was right! On Thursday Kath pick me up and we went and picked Dale up and then we went to Diggle to meet David and Matt and the film crew as I was excited because I was allowed to be filmed as well as watch the operation. Me and Dale stood at the door and watched the operation as the film crew filmed every little bit of the operation they asked me Dale and Kath if we were worried for George and we all said yes and then they said they will do everything they can then after the operation Matt gave me Georges toe and said have a look at that and I said sure and then he said do you want it. I said yes so he wrapped it up and said there you go then At the end went George woke up and was ok we all went home and I showed my dad mum brother and sister and they said thatís horrible. Then on Sunday we went up to Diggle and George was great looking good and you wouldnít think he had one toe off three days before Iím so happy George is going to be okay now Iím fingers crossed he can come out of the sickbay in four weeks Iíve enjoyed going up to diggle this week with Kath and Dale I donít see Dale anymore with all this lockdown Iím hoping to spend some more time up diggle with him this was my experience this week Iím hoping we donít have to go through this again with any of the sheep Iím George behaves when heís allowed out on the field I will write again soon Jacob

The DigglersThe Digglers


Dale's Experience

Its been a year since Kath and I met, it started as a quick visit to see the sheep, to visiting regularly and learning about the charity, gaining the training and the knowledge to become farm manager.

The improvements to the farm, the planted trees, the constant change of scenery, even a trip and filming by the Yorkshire vets. Weíve had our ups and downs but mostly ups. We had a sad journey at the beginning of the year to the crematorium for Kathís beloved Moriarty and we had some close calls with the sheep, but with Kathís quick thinking and our care, the sheep are well and cosy in the penthouse and sickbay.

Weíve had blizzards, rain and sun and through them all, weíve had to make sure the sheep and local wildlife have their dinners.

We also survey the grounds each time to make sure we havenít gained any damage. Being in Diggle has been great for my mental health and learning about our local wildlife/conservation efforts, and the knowledge of sheep. The weather creates a new picture each time and itís an opportunity to grab a coffee and see my adopted grandmother 2-3 times a week.


Dale's Experience

Recently Kath made me official manager, with a plaque to match and Iím happy to have gained the knowledge and trust to do what we do here at Diggle. Helping sheep who would have had a short life for meat to gain a long happy one here on the farm. Helping the environment to protect our local species, planting trees for healthy air and conservation, making the place a home for us and nature and proud in moving forward for the digglers future.
The Digglers


Dale's Experience

Within the last two months, Iíve helped re-sculpture the garden and prepare for the new arrivals, that said the Hebrideans are now in the field and get along with the others and it feels like they've always been part of the digglers crew.

Theyíre small and cute and as energetic as Kath whose been going up to the farm at 5 am some days to check up on them, which makes me wonder whose the baa-my one, to be honest.


Jacob's Experience

Hello everyone my name is Jacob and I am 9 years old and you will have seen me before in the newspaper. I am going to tell you about my weekend. On Friday 19th of June 2020 I woke up at 9 oíclock and I went in my mums' room and asked her if we could go up Diggle. To see Kath and all the sheep but the weather was really bad raining loads and very windy. So, my mum said she would ring Kath in the morning and asked if we could go up.

On Saturday morning my mum was getting up to ring kath but at 9.30am Kath rang my mum to tell her that the sheep was getting sheared at 1 oíclock. My mum told me about Kath ringing. I was so excited I got dressed really fast to go but my mum said we wasnít going until 12:30pm as dale and Joel wasnít going until 1 oíclock.

We got there at around 12.45pm as I was too excited to go so mum set off at 12.15pm. Dale and Joel didnít get there till 1.30pm.

Dale and Joel are sheep farmers from Delph and they come once a year to shear the sheep and give them their medication. They need foot vax this is so they donít get foot rot they also need worming and Dectonax for general infection. If any of the sheep get small cut from being sheared Joel sprays the cuts with Engenycin itís an antibiotic blue spray to stop the flies from getting in and causing an infection. All this medication is to stop the sheep getting fly strike. You also need to check sheep for flies as they lay eggs in their fleeces and getting maggots this is why that get their fleeces sheared once a year but if do get flies laying eggs will get sheared again.

When we got there two sheep was in and three was on the field so Kath shouted them up and close gate but they escaped. Kath said Joel and dale will get them back in.

Dale and Joel got there at 1.30pm. They were setting up the shears with their generator. Joel son was with him, he is called josh and is 4 years old. Kath was sorting all the medication out and dale and Joel went to get sheep off field. I helped by standing at Thorn becks wood gate so they did get in there as would of belong afternoon trying get sheep in. It was only about 15 mins and all three sheep went in the bungalow. Then me and mum close gate to field.

Dale got one sheep at a time and took them to Joel who sheared them and give them the medication before letting them back out on field. Olly was first and once he was let out, he looked like a Dalmatian and really skinny. It took around an hour for all five sheep to be sheared and give their medication. Buster was the last sheep to be sheared and he was very stubborn.

The DigglersThe Digglers The Digglers

I really enjoyed watching the sheep get sheared and Kath said I could take some of Olly fleece and said when I get home to wash it as could be fleas in it. Olly fleece was cream and black and was sofa to touch. All the fleeces Joel and dale take to wool Factory I think I'm not 100% sure on that I will ask Kath again when see her.

When Joel, dale and josh packed up and went me Kath and my mum was leaving as well but I wanted to go on Sunday as well to help Kath clean and tidy up and my mum said yes. I was so happy I love go up their id go every single day if I could. We locked up but before we left me forgot car keys so I went back to get them for her and locked back up. When I got home, I washed the fleece outside and left it to dry.

Sunday morning me and mum got up a bit late we got to Kathís house at 9 oíclock Kath said I could get some gnomes out of her back garden to take up to Diggle and put in her memorial garden. I got 2 ducks and 2 gnomes. Me and Kath then went to Diggle where I helped Kath clean and tidy up. After that I went and put the gnomes in the memorial garden and Kath gave me one of Ramboís horns, I love it. Mum was coming up at dinner time. So, when we and Kath finished what we needed to be done we played connect 4 I won and Bendomino. I love this game. Mum came and played Bendomino with me and Kath went to get dinner for us all.

I showed my mum where I put the gnomes in garden and as we came out Kath was back. We had dinner and Kath showed us some photos of when she got the land and built stables for her two horses Whisky Mac and Toby.

Kath let me borrow Bendomino and my mum is going to get me my own soon. We locked up and mum didnít forget her car keys this time I said want to come back tomorrow but we are going on Tuesday as my mum as things to do today.

I'm going to use Olly fleece for a pillow with pictures of sheep on. When got home me and mum played Bendomino loads.

Thank you for reading I will write again soon. Jacob x

The Digglers


Dale's Experience

One sunny day this month Kath and I were talking when a jackdaw bird visited and wouldnít leave my shoulder until we left, now named Edgar I hope he comes back so I can play Dr Dolittle a while longer. Kath hired a skip and we used the time to clear away road litter and give the storage rooms more space. Weíve also been gardening, planting flowers and shrubs to amplify the beauty of thorns beck. In turn, the gardens now full of lavender and being hereís boosted my confidence and given a stronger love for the outdoors, I now come to an area I feel happy in for the first time in a long time, so thank you, Diggle, and thank you, Kath, for being a friend and introducing me to lifetime location.

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Staff Meeting

Minutes to the first volunteer staff meeting.


Dale's Experience

Since last month Kath and I have been looking for a trio of sheep to join the flock. Kath has given me the help and guidance needed to look after our new friends and I'm excited about their arrival. Sadly though I was supposed to be getting hands-on experience with lambing, but with COVID-19 thatís not possible this year. So we settled for watching it on country file instead. Weíve been using our time to give the farm some TLC, so we've cleaned, pruned and painted for our new friends.

Weíve had a great time in Diggle together and Kath has given me the exciting news that I am now the charities new farm manager! I hope the trustees will give me their blessings too, as I love being at the farm and I'm glad to be apart of its progression. Hopefully when this horrible virus is over Kath and I can get back on track mailing bee charities to further our conservation efforts. The locals are in for a laugh when we're walking around in our bee suits.


Dale's Experience

Since my last post, I've been travelling with Kath, guiding me through the foods and materials we need for the farm, its local wildlife and of course sheep. Going to warehouses, merchants, vets and sadly a visit to the crematorium where we said farewell to Kathís beloved cat Moriarty. We had dinner afterwards and toasted to his memory. Being there and being present in all of the above has made me realise the tasks involved in farm management.

Thereís always something to do at the farm and itís interesting to see the work that goes into the charity. We had some heavy winds recently and lots of trees were knocked over, but with the purchase of a mallet, I was able to hammer the stakes back in and re-position the tubes surrounding the trees. This is vital because the weather changes daily and we need to salvage as many trees as possible for the farm's future conservation efforts.

On a high note, spring is coming and with that weíre starting to sprout flowers inside Thorns beck wood! I also have the joy of visiting Joel and Daleís farm soon to help with lambing, which Iíll talk about in my next log. This Iím excited about as Iím starting to feel like a proper farmer. :)

Dale's Log Dale's Log


Dale's Experience

Over the past few weeks, Iíve had the pleasure of learning the first steps of farm/land/sheep & woodland management. Iíve already learnt so much with Kathís help and guidance. A haven where I'm able to progress with the DCTís journey. With the charity backing me every step of the way, Iím able to learn new skills and expand my knowledge by learning all of the above. Iím excited to see how I grow with the trees to prove myself to the trustees and local farmers Dale & Joe. Both great people helping me to understand a sheep's needs and care. I hope with the experience of future handling and research, I can be a proud keeper of my own. It wonít be plain sailing, but thatís part of the fun. Thank you for the opportunity, Kath, I hope we have many years of happiness helping the charity and itís outstanding conservation efforts because thatís what itís all about.

The Digglers' Lady Mary Memorial Wood

Above is a photo taken by Dale of the trees in bud.


Ellen's Experience

Today was too cold to do much but we emptied the rubbish. We talked about what we did over christmas and what developments had happened. For instance we found out that jolly roger's "road accident" was actually a birth defect. One eye is a lot smaller than the other causing him to squint. Also Mavis who lives with Kath has been getting lonely so two of the cats have been moved just for Mavis.


Ellen's Experience

Recently, we have had a problem with a flooded stream. Today we cleared out the stream, or rather, the others did whilst I cleared the yard. I noticed that the flow of water was slowing down. We had solved the problem by guessing! We were then updated on our preperations for our next performances.


Catherine's Experience

Spring has arrived and some of the trees and shrubs that we had thought were dead have produced buds. Not the only promising thing - news about the new woodland to be planted in autumn is really exciting - even if it means planting 800 trees - I'm sure we'll manage somehow. Also the possibility of creating an educational experience for children would be great. Working in a school you see just how much some children miss out on contact with animals and nature. So lots of exciting things happening here - so happy we decided to get involved.

Ellen's Experience

Today we painted the gates a lovely bright pea green and all the posts a glossy black. It was beautiful by the time we left. I also tried some games and treats with the cats. Here are some idea's for you to try at home.
Thomas Cat Treats: Incredibly tasty for all the cats. Most cats prefer chicken.
50 Games to play with your cat: Fun easy ideas for you and your cat. By Jackie Strachan.


Catherine's Experience

A damp, misty day so hard work clearing out the yard. My internet search on straw buildings came up with lots of houses but nothing really for animals so will try ringing a few people who might know something about it. Animals all looking well and hopefully the worst of the weather is over.

Ellen's Experience

Today was a cold damp day. Started a fire to burn some rubbish up. Exercised Tizer using the lazer and gave Holly her worming tablet using Kath's trick. She might start to trust me again next weekend!


Ellen's Experience

Today we cleaned out the sheep. I discovered a massive rip down the side of my old trousers - time for some new ones I think. I was so embarrassed. Tizer is looking a little more active but given the choice between playing with the lazer and food, she chooses food every time.

Catherine's Experience

Foggy today and quite a frost still - we had to put buckets of water for the sheep inside to stop them from freezing over. It was lovely to get a fire going to burn the rubbish. We talked about building a henhouse out of straw bales which might give extra protection to hens in a bad winter. Kath like the idea so I'll find out more.


Ellen's Experience

I brough a new toy to the Digglers today. Our cat Jess's favourite toy is a laser pointer so I brought it along to see if the cats here would like it. Well, Tizer, aka Fatty Bum Bum really liked it. I put her on the floor and she chased after it like a kitten so Kath has put me in charge of her New Year's exercise programme to lose a bit of weight and get fit.

Catherine's Experience

Whilst Ellen was in the warm playing with the cats and the sheep were also snuggled inside, Kath and I were working hard in the rain to clear up the yard which we couldn't do until the bad weather was finally over. Looking much better now. Kath was talking about some new food which she's trying out on the cats and we might see if our Jess will switch but she's really particular so I don't know.


Ellen's Experience

Kath and mum were clearing reeds from a stream that had become blocked and was overflowing down the field. I was in the penthouse stopping the sheep from escaping but when I looked over mum had fallen over and was sitting in the middle of the muddy field. She was covered in mud. The stream looks fine though.

Catherine's Experience

Ha! Ha! Well I'm glad my falling over was so amusing. The stream was quite clogged with reeds and we had to chop them out and pull out clumps to stop the stream being diverted. The field was quite muddy and slippy and maybe I was a bit too enthusiastic pulling out the reeds. We'd planned on going shopping afterwards but I thought we'd better give it a miss until I'd got changed.


Catherine's Experience

Jessica came with us to Diggle today. This was Jessica's first visit and Kath took time to explain about all the animals. When we arrived the sheep looked expectantly at us as we waited for Kath to finish feeding the cats. I think they are getting used to us and were hoping we might feed them. Later on we spent some time playing with the cats who are mostly very affectionate except for Sammy P who likes her own space. Kath had to separate me and Tizer whose claws are getting just a bit too long. In the holidays we are planning to go to the feed merchants and learn a bit more about feeding the animals - what kinds of feed are available and what we should choose and why.

Ellen's Experience

I brought my friend Jessica to Diggle today and we worked really hard. We fed the birds and cleaned out the penthouse and Jessica got to meet the cats. Had all their daily cuddles and food. Yum, Yum. Slight panic when Tizer got her nails stuck in mum's jacket - she doesn't go out so needs her nails clipping every so often. Jessica liked the sheep best.


Catherine's Experience

Dry, clear morning but getting cold now. Swept out the yard and re-filled the bird seed holders and table. A beautiful new cat has arrived at the Digglers called Holly, a rich mix of browns and ginger, young and a little nervous but settling in well and putting on weight. The sheep are getting used to us now and approach us in the hope of food being in the carrier bags, rather than just work gloves. The sun is shining as we leave so the cats are let out to play for a while.

Ellen's Experience

Getting very cold now so I layered up to come and see the new cat, Holly. She is an absolutely gorgeous cat. Decorated Holly's new home with some cat pictures and cleared the yard. The sheep found this very interesting!


Catherine's Experience

A cold, bright November morning - all the animals are eager to be fed. The sheep in the field are pushing each other out of the way to get the feed at the gate. We clean the yard and fetch salt and grit in readiness for any icy weather. And then ...

Ellen's Experience

What a performance! Dolly-Bloomberry slips jumping off a low wall and hobbles painfully around the yard so we go all the way to Huddersfield and back to pick up some anti-inflammatory injections for her. We get back and find she's only jumped over the wall again so she's obviously not too bad but as soon as she sees us she starts hobbling around again so of course we give her an extra piece of bread. No two days are ever the same here!


Ellen's Experience

The Digglers is a small holding suited to every animal's needs. I help out and I think it's fantastic. The cats are really well cared for and have brilliant toys and the lovely memorial garden to play in. The sheep have a whole field with a little stream of water running through it. They are extremely well cared for which makes up for their past experiences.

Cath's Experience

What a beautiful place Ė the animals here are so lucky. Did a spot of tree and hedge trimming whilst enjoying the view and helped to clean out the sheep's winter quarters. We were entertained for a while by some neighbouring sheep who were making a break for freedom down the main road. The Diggler sheep tried to follow suit but didn't quite make it.