Brent Eleigh: Proud farmer picks up award for cattle

Nick Thomson (right) and Chris Thomas are pictured with the award winning Red Poll cattle at Brook F

Nick Thomson (right) and Chris Thomas are pictured with the award winning Red Poll cattle at Brook Farm, Brent Eleigh. - Credit: Archant

A farmer who started rearing rare breed cattle as a hobby has won a top national award for his herd.

Nick Thomson, of Brent Eleigh, near Lavenham, has topped this year’s Red Poll Cattle Society’s National Herd Competition.

The accolade recognises not only the quality of the animals, but also the way they are managed.

Red Poll are a traditional British breed native to Suffolk, bred for both beef and milk. They are noted for their gentle temperament, intense curiosity and beautiful appearance. The Brook Farm animals are entirely grass fed and during the summer, they are a familiar sight on the ancient pastures around Lavenham Church and the water meadows surrounding Brent Eleigh.

Mr Thomson told the EADT he was “thrilled” with the award.

“We started with a few cows in 2002 and we still only have 75 head of cattle now, so it’s something of a triumph to win,” he said.

“By the time you get to the national knockouts, the herds left in the competition are all going to have pretty good animals.

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“We attend the big Suffolk schools’ event at Trinity Park every year and we sell the meat from the farm, so I think we gained brownie points from the judges for helping to publicise and develop the breed.”

Mr Thomson also believes his herd stood out from the competition because of the way they are kept. He added: “They are put out to pasture for the whole summer and we make our own hay in the winter, so they get very little in the way of artificial concentrates.

“We have a low density stocking policy so the cattle are under no pressure at all and they are given a great deal of care and attention.”

Mr Thomson and his wife Rosemary also keep Suffolk sheep, produce Lavenham Brook wine from their vineyard and maintain a heritage apple orchard. The network of paths on the farm also enable visitors to see the Red Poll in their natural environment amid beautiful rolling Suffolk countryside.

Mr Thomson believes Red Poll meat is on a par with Aberdeen Angus and he is on a mission to educate people about his prizewinning breed.

There are plans to expand the farm shop, and people are encouraged to visit the farm to see the herd for themselves. Visit