Lake District Sheep Farm, Broadrayne Grasmere

Our History

The name 'Broadrayne' traces back to the old Norse language and translates as 'Broad' (wide) and 'rein' (long strip). The farm sits above what would have been the flood plain of the valley and below the high fells behind the farm. Our oldest maps and the field walls indicate that the farm extended further to the north in a long strip. Whether people lived here or just used the land we cannot tell, but for the name to survive, something must have happened here for a very long time. The farm house stands on a large boulder base; there was probably an earlier building than the present house which dates to circa 1620 (it was a tradition to rebuild on the same site as the previous one). The stone walls around the farm and the shape of the fields also reflect a similar date. Our deeds and a very early map tell us that these fields were enclosed before the 1720s.

The barn and outbuildings

The outlying barn to the North has always been known as the Bracken barn; the cut bracken was used for animal bedding and some of it was burnt to make potash, which was in turn made into soap to scour the grease from the wool before it was spun and sold. The building attached to the north of the farmhouse (now the Woolloft cottage), was the original cow byre with storage above for animal feed and the fleeces awaiting processing. The Yan building dates back to the early years of the 19th century built as storage for hay, barley and oats on the top floor and a stable and shippon below for cows. The oats and barley would have been grown in the meadows further down the valley; no wheat could have been grown in the valley, as it is too wet. The Smithy is a detached one storey building, that has now been converted to accommodation. It was at one time the blacksmith’s workshop for the farm, from where it gets its name.

Some of the best sheep in The Lake District

Broadrayne Farm has over the years bred some of the best sheep in the Lake District. The grey-faced sheep you can see round the farm are Lakeland Herdwicks. Descendants of these sheep that have been here for generations and are hefted to the farm. These are Broadrayne Sheep and are marked with the Broadrayne own flock mark but are now owned and managed by our next door neighbour. The picture above shows farm hands salving the sheep outside the building (The Byre) circa 1880. Salving involved waterproofing the sheep's fleece with a mixture of hot tar and rancid butter.

Our name ‘The Yan’ directly translates to ‘the one’ from the old Cumbrian dialect counting system that is still used for counting sheep today.

David and Sally, Broadrayne Farm, Grasmere

Dave & Sally

Dave & Sally have been married for over 30 years now (and can’t decide which one of them should get a medal). They are blessed with having two grown up daughters (Jessica and Georgina), who both independently decided to travel the world and have now set up home in the Lake District also, with their respective partners. Born and bred in Yorkshire, they had a fantastic idea that it would be great to semi-retire and purchase a lifestyle business in the Lake District, their favourite part of the world. When they first saw Broadrayne Farm in 2011 they fell in love with it, the location, the history, the views, the walks, the character of the cottages... just everything about the place! They completed the deal and started on their new journey... and that's the last time they mentioned those words "semi-retire"! Since their first day on the farm they have been working tirelessly to continually improve and develop the properties, in order to enhance their customers experience of staying in this part of the world and will continue to do this.

Sally has over 30 years' experience in bookkeeping and accountancy. Prior to finishing work in 2007 she was the Finance Director for a family owned business based in Huddersfield, having progressed through the growing business over a 10-year period. Sally now 'cooks' the books for Broadrayne Farm and all things gardening are down to her wizard gardening skills. Sally can often been seen dashing off to swim in one of the Lakes, her fitness classes or setting off for a run around the fells... and sometimes dragging a reluctant Dave along.

Dave started out as an electronics & telecommunications engineer and as his career progressed he ended up with over 30 years' corporate business experience at a senior executive level... there was nobody more surprised than Dave with this! One of Dave's major roles was Managing Director with Virgin Media... I'm sure you can imagine that Dave's initial priority on Broadrayne Farm was sorting the Broadband and Wi-Fi! Dave's engineering background has helped him adapt from "getting a man in" to being the "man" who fixes everything... Google and YouTube are his friend! Dave is often seen hiding from Sally! However, Dave’s new role is apparently going to be washing up in our new bistro.

Will and Jess, The Yan Grasmere

Jess & Will

Jess (Dave and Sally's Daughter) & Will moved to the farm in May 2018 after 5 years living and working together in the French Alps, where they managed a privately-owned chalet company and boutique hotel. Will was the Executive Chef for the company and made a name for himself there, with guests returning year after year, due to his delicious food and Jess ran the rest! After looking at many places, all over the world, a plan was hatched, and the decision was made to move to the Lake District and build within our family business. With their combined extensive hospitality experience, it has been a dream for them to have a place to call their own. They got married here on the farm in September 2018, which was the first wedding held at Broadrayne Farm and it was a perfect day! Now we have done a trial run we are possibly open to the idea of hosting weddings and other celebrations here.

Jess has been travelling and working abroad for the past 10 years and is an experienced hospitality professional, having worked in Australia, Asia, and Europe. She has a creative side with a foundation diploma in Art & Design and studied Textile Design. She is also a trained dancer, passionate ski mountaineer and generally loves all things hiking. Jess is now starting to take the lead around here and forcing Sally & Dave to take days off...

Will is an experienced, extremely creative, classically trained and talented chef. Over the last 16 years he has travelled extensively around the world, which has inspired a lot of his ideas.

Will has introduced the catering side to Broadrayne Farm, with his passion for food shining through in every dish he creates. He is a Southerner, qualified football coach and an Arsenal supporter, but we try not to hold this against him! On the very few times that you may meet Will without his chef whites on he will undoubtedly have on the most garish Hawaiian shirt.