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Our Shepherd Set For a Year of Milestones in New Dream Role

We advertised for a Head Shepherd in 2021 to look after our 1,200-strong flock of Scotch Mule sheep.

Fast forward nearly nine months and Tom Locke is loving his new role at our UNESCO World Heritage Site and enjoying an eventful first year in charge.

He is just a number of weeks away from his first lambing season for our working estate with our team expecting a busy period in the lambing sheds.

“I’ve definitely got some major milestones this year. I have just turned 30, I have got my first lambing season here at Blenheim in April, and then we also have our first baby on the way in May,” he said.

“What a place this is to work, I get to drive around every day, doing what I love and being around Blenheim Palace, it really is the opportunity of a lifetime,” he added.

Tom works closely with our Farm Manager Charles Gerring and apprentice Stockperson Ellie Young, whilst living on our Estate with his partner, Charlotte.

“She is the absolute driving force behind me, she keeps everything going for me,” he said.

“It’s hard, in winter after a long day, I get home late and it’s already dark, we see each other for about an hour then I am falling asleep but bless her, she has always been there for me, she is the rock that I lean on.”

Tom is also championing our Estate’s new ‘Thank Ewe’ campaign which asks dog owners to act responsibly while visiting our Estate in the run up to lambing season.

Our Estate allow their sheep to give birth outdoors, in order to give lambs the best spring grass and nutrients they need.

One of the Head Shepherd’s major roles during the lambing period will be to closely monitor the sheep outside to ensure the safe birth of the lambs, whilst Charles and Ellie work inside.

There are three other members of his family who he was also keen to heap praise on, his trio of sheepdogs: Tweed, Roe and Malibu.

“I really couldn’t be without my dogs, they’re one of the main reasons I get up in the morning, I spend so much time with them that I do see them as part of the family and they bring me a lot of joy.”

The grassland within our UNESCO World Heritage Site provides near ideal conditions for the extensive flock to graze throughout the year.