Ruth Dalton

    Farming and wildlife specialist

  • What I Do

    A native livestock specialist, I spent a decade working for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, and now advise farmers, land managers and breed societies throughout the UK. I am passionate about native breeds and their place in sustainable farming systems.


    I specialise in matching the right breed to the right place, and love finding practical solutions for farms of all sizes.

    • I provide breeding advice to help you or your organisation ensure your animals remain healthy and productive 
    • I design bespoke grazing systems that work for your land and your specific needs
    • I source appropriate animals for your farm or grazing project
    • I help you maintain pedigree records and registrations

    At home, I farm pedigree native cattle and sheep in the Lake District with my partner. We carefully manage our land and livestock to increase biodiversity and produce high-welfare, healthy food.

  • Past and current work

    A selection of my work and projects:

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    Countryside Stewardship applications

    With experience of both Mid Tier and Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship, I can advise on which options might suit your farm for the last year of applications. CS can be a useful buffer whilst we await a clearer picture for the new Environmental Land Management schemes.

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    Selected Mating Scheme

    I currently work with the Manx Loaghtan Sheep Breeders Group on their new Selected Mating Scheme. We co-designed the scheme, using the Cloud-lines software for pedigree databases, to help breeders to identify and conserve the rarest genetics.

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    Conservation breeding programme

    Vaynols are the UK's rarest cattle breed and the population has been historically highly inbred. I coordinate a bespoke conservation strategy to help a private breeder ensure the Vaynol's survival

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    Conservation grazing training

    I can deliver bespoke training on stock checking and grazing management tailored to your site and situation.

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    Primitive Produce

    I coordinated this farmer-led project showing the commercial value of primitive sheep breeds. Low-input sheep with high-quality meat and the added value opportunities of the wool, horns and skins

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    Pedigree registrations

    Familiar with all the major pedigree livestock registration systems, I can help breeders submit their birth notifications and pedigree applications, even if you've got in a bit of a muddle or have several years to catch up on!

  • Testimonials

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    Maria Benjamin & John Atkinson

    "We have loved working with Ruth over the years. She always brings a great deal of knowledge but also warmth and genuine care to her work. She is a strong creative problem-solver and seems to thrive on challenging situations so is a brilliant asset to any project."

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    Tullis Matson


    "I have known and worked with Ruth for 8 years and can say that her knowledge and experience relating to rare and native breeds is second to none. If I were thinking of taking on rare breeds in the future, I would definitely be seeking advice from Ruth."

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    John Rowell & Denise Richardson-Rowell


    "We have been working with Ruth for a number of years on various enterprises. Her expertise has been invaluable and allowed us to build up a great variety of Rare Breeds here at Dumfries House Home Farm. Ruth's knowledge on various aspects is excellent and rises to every challenge. Her easy going manner and attention to detail makes it a pleasure to work along side Ruth. Hope we will be working together for many years."

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    Anne Lane


    "I have known and worked with Ruth Dalton for the past eleven years. On behalf of the North Ronaldsay Sheep breeders, she was instrumental in selecting and transporting rams from the island to be placed in mainland flocks. She has been an enormous help in sorting out registration problems within the breed. All in all, Ruth has been a friendly, helpful ally in numerous projects and events."

  • Education 

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    University of Oxford

    Master of Science (Integrative Bioscience) 2002-2003

    Animal behaviour, British wildlife conservation

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    University of Edinburgh

    Bachelor of Science (Zoology) 1998-2001

    Genetics, Animal behaviour

  • Contact me

    Drop me a line or give me a call to discuss your land and livestock needs

    Whinpot Farm, Crook, Kendal LA8 8LF
    07880 584551