The first stage of preparing the côtils for planting in the new year is underway.
The côtils, which are the first fields to be planted in the new year are being ploughed.
As the slopes are harvested, a cover crop mix is broadcast and planted to fix the ground. The crops that include a mix of barley, vetch and legumes not only help prevent soil erosion, but also play an important part in fixing nitrogen in the ground. They are left to grow to maturity and in doing so provide a wonderful environment for pollinators, birds and other native species to thrive.
In the Autumn months the cover crops are flailed using a remote-controlled crawler machine called Robocut, and the green manure is then ploughed back into the land.
Ploughing the côtils is a very labour intensive and time-consuming process, as the ploughman is pulled up the slope on a winch, turning one furrow at a time.
After each furrow, the ploughman has to run back to the bottom and do it all again!