• Update: Our mail order service continues to be open for business. Compost for your gardens can be ordered via our website and delivered safely by our courier service. Our small team is working really hard and getting orders out as quickly as it can, so please bear with us. Give instructions when you order for a safe place to drop-off and there’s no need to sign.
    We had anticipated changes such as this and have put in place safe working practices for all our staff, including home working. We will continue to monitor the situation.


    Our farm is currently closed to visitors.

  • • Dalefoot’s popular Lakeland Gold clay-buster compost now vegan-friendly
    • Its peat-free composts stocked in 112 garden centres/nurseries across UK including NEW for spring 2020 six Blue Diamond stores
    • Dalefoot’s environmental business restored over 32,700 hectares of damaged peat bog in 20 years - over 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions stored since it was launched
    • Company works on Dartmoor, the Cairngorms and in the Lake District restoring peatlands to lock in carbon and reduce flooding risk

    Dalefoot Composts has boosted its pioneering peat-free gardening range with a vegan-friendly compost for spring 2020 and announced a major carbon-saving milestone for its environmental contracting arm that restores precious peatlands across the UK.

    The family-run company’s popular Lakeland Gold* compost, made from bracken sustainably harvested from the local fells, is now 100% vegan-friendly, thanks to a tweak to its potash-rich recipe**.

    Lakeland Gold acts as a powerful soil conditioner, ideal for spring and autumn mulching on your garden beds as well as clay-busting, and is packed with natural slow-release nutrients helping to develop a fertile, living soil. Like the rest of Dalefoot’s peat-free, premium compost range, it is Soil Association-approved for organic growing and is available to buy online or from a growing list of stockists.

    As well as encouraging gardeners to use peat-free compost, in a further step to combat the challenges of climate change, Dalefoot also helps restore the UK’s damaged peat bogs. Last year its team repaired over 3,200 hectares of degraded peatlands across the UK – some damaged by peat extraction for the horticultural industry - adding to the 29,500 hectares it’s completed in the past 20 years, the equivalent of 45,800 football pitches. Using innovative restoration techniques, the work turns the bogs back into carbon sinks. This equates to 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions - equivalent to 500,000 flights from London to New York - saved since Dalefoot started two decades ago, .

    Professor Jane Barker, who runs Dalefoot Composts with her husband Simon Bland, said: “We are all now witnessing the effects of global warming and climate change: be it earlier flowering bulbs, the need for extra watering or for some too much rain. As gardeners we all have the opportunity to make a difference! Going peat-free isn’t just a personal choice, it’s a way we can all have an impact in our own individual way on climate change. Peat is pure carbon laid down over thousands of years and it needs to stay in a bog (not a bag!). Lots of little steps make giant strides.”

    Simon and Jane have pioneered techniques to repair these fragile landscapes, with their team often working in challenging conditions in remote sites for organisations like Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and South West Water. They have engineered specialist equipment, lighter than a human footprint, needed to work on the delicate surface of peat bogs.

    Dalefoot Composts is a farm-based business producing an exciting range of peat-free composts using only the natural resources of wool and bracken sustainably sourced from the beautiful Lake District. Its premium composts include Wool Compost for Potting & Containers, Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, Wool Compost for Tomatoes, Wool Compost Double Strength, Wool Compost Ericaceous (and Double Strength), Bulb Compost and Wool Compost for Seeds. Lakeland Gold, the original bracken compost, is now 100% vegan-friendly.

  • Caption: Site visit on Bampton Common with Cumbria Wildlife Trust

    One of the questions we get asked a lot at Dalefoot Composts is ‘how exactly can you repair a peat bog?’ Today Laura, our peatland restoration co-ordinator writes about the pioneering work we do at Dalefoot Composts on peat bog sites up and down the country…

    Following historical drainage operations and commercial mining of peat for horticulture, 80% of our country’s peat bogs are in a very degraded state. This means that there is miles and miles of exposed dry, cracked black peat which is leaking carbon into the atmosphere as we speak.

    At Dalefoot Composts, when we come to restore a peat bog, the first thing we look at is the hydrology of the bog – how wet is it? Good hydrology of a bog means that in summer months a bog will stay wet and in winter months, it doesn’t flood - no extreme water levels. There are a number of techniques that enable us to manage the hydrology of the bog better – for example we can block up historical drainage ditches and install different types of weirs or pipes to help regulate the water levels.

    After we have fixed the hydrology, we need to cover the bog back over so the black peat is no longer exposed to the atmosphere. We can do this by introducing peat-forming mosses and grasses, and planting certain types of plants. Sphagnum Moss is our top plant to re-introduce on a peat bog – it’s a miracle plant! Peat is actually made out of Sphagnum moss, it decomposes down into peat at a rate of 1mm per year. Sphagnum can also hold 20 times its own weight in water as well as being a natural filtering system which catches any peat particles before they get washed away into streams and rivers. Sphagnum has a huge role to play in flood alleviation so it’s a great plant to have thriving in the countryside.

    To work on a peat bog, you need some pretty unusual machinery to stop your workforce from sinking into the bog! We modify our big diggers and tractors so that their weight is spread over a very large area with extra wide tracks, ending up with a footprint lighter than yours. This means that our operators don’t get that sinking feeling!

    We are pleased to work with South West Water, Peatland Action, The Tweed Forum, Upstream Thinking and Natural England on our restoration sites.

    At Dalefoot Composts, we always try and restore a bog in the most sustainable way. This means that we do not undertake any work that requires a helicopter lift or any imported materials such as Coir from Sri Lanka as we have deemed this to have too large a carbon footprint alongwith too many environmental and social issues in it's production. It also goes without saying, but we never plant any plug plants on our restoration sites that have been grown in peat – why would we want to damage one peat bog to restore another one?! We know that we can provide restoration in an eco-conscious way that won’t have a huge environmental impact when our main objective is to be actually restoring the environment!

    Just another reason to buy PEAT FREE!

  • 17 December 2019

    Join the Dalefoot team...

    We are excited to announce that, due to our expanding business, we are looking to recruit a Sales and Key Accounts Executive. Dalefoot Composts is looking for an extraordinary individual who is excited by the opportunity to join our sales team and to develop and grow with us. You will be joining a dynamic and close team, who is proud of the work they achieve on daily basis and whose main focus is to delight our customers.

    This is a full time permanent position based on our farm in Heltondale with a negotiable salary depending on experience. Scroll down to below Comment Box see the full role profile pdf.

    Apply with your CV and covering letter explaining why you are interested in this position to laura@barkerandbland.co.uk.  Closing date for applications Monday 13th January 2020.

  • Caption: Peatland before restoration
    Caption: Peatland after restoration
    Caption: Our range of peat-free composts

    Dalefoot’s Professor Jane Barker is one of the experts interviewed by horticultural journalist Dr Fay Edwards in her brilliant new podcast episode on the use of peat in gardening. If you have ever wanted to know more about the real environmental impact of digging up peat from its natural environment, then we urge you to listen…

    The podcast explores why peat has traditionally been used in compost, what the problems and issues are with extracting it from peat bogs, and the vital work taking place to restore damaged peatlands.

    It also mentions the major organisations who have successfully switched to using peat free compost, like the National Trust, and outlines five things that you can do as a home gardener to help resolve the issue with peat.

    Jane’s interview can be found around 30 minutes into the episode and she talks about the background to Dalefoot Composts, as well as outlining the sustainable ingredients we use in our compost and why sourcing them locally is so important.

    Other guests featured include Dr Flo Renou-Wilson (research scientist, University College Dublin), Craig Macadam (Conservation Director, Buglife) and Chris Dean (Partnership Manager, Moors for the Future Partnership).

    You can find the episode here. Please listen, encourage others to do the same and tell us what you think.


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© Barker and Bland Ltd t/a Dalefoot Composts 2014 - 2020. All rights reserved.
Barker and Bland is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Dalefoot Farm, Heltondale, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2QL. Registered number: 8312959

This project is supported by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.

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