Young Sam Swain she had a farm...

Sam Swain and friends
Sam Swain and friends

Most young women looking for work might sign up for a job in an office, a shop, or maybe a restaurant. Sam Swain set up her own farm.

And with spring, surely, just round the corner, she is hoping the business will soon be growing as fast as the pigs and chickens that roam the 38 acres she now calls home.

Sam, 26, came up with the idea after completing a university degree.

She had grown up on a farm at Killamarsh, where dad Ken ran a fishery. He had more ponds and land at Aston Springs Farm and Sam decided to seize the opportunity it presented.

“I’d farmed on a small scale at Killamarsh – starting with six pigs, a boar and 150 chickens – and it had got to the point where we needed to expand,” she says.

With sister Emily, 23, she applied for planning permission and set up the barns and equipment they needed in Aston.

The animals were transferred in December and the new farm is now up and running, with 400 free range chickens, 40 rare breed pigs and a shop selling their own meat, eggs and other local produce.

There is also a petting farm where young visitors can feed the animals and play with Gordon the goat and Dolly the lamb. Deer will be added when fencing is complete, along with a family farm trail. And a planned café should open in May.

“It’s brilliant!” says Sam. “We had a head start with Dad already having the land, but the idea came from nowhere and it just expanded.

“We started just before Christmas and we’re gradually building it up. It’s hard work but it’s getting better all the time.”

Sam and Emily are learning as they go along, with the help of friendly farmers and local volunteers.

“Now we just need a bit of sun...”

Aston Springs Farm is open daily, 10am-4pm:

Lesley Draper