We, farmers Neil and Jillian McEwan run Lunan Bay Farm regeneratively in Angus, in the North East of Scotland. We are pioneering producers of homegrown Scottish Regenerative Cashmere, a first in Scotland for 30 years. Our aim is to produce quality Cashmere fibre which works in harmony with our environment and nature.
Our farm is based at picturesque Lunan Bay on the North East coast of Scotland, where three miles of unspoilt beaches meet the surrounding fertile countryside. We are very lucky to live and work in such a special place. Scotland is world renowned for its Cashmere production industry. However, the fibre has not been grown in this country for decades. The finest Cashmere is currently sourced from goats in Asia, then processed in Scotland by our world class mills. Although there are moves for the Cashmere industry to became more sustainable, there are issues about the ethical and environmental impact of Cashmere production in these countries. Our groundbreaking work into producing Cashmere that is grown and processed in Scotland, also studies the environmental benefits of regeneratively managed Cashmere goats. As guardians of the only farmed herd of Cashmere goats in the UK, we believe this unique natural fibre is gift from our goats and should be treated with the utmost respect. Every Spring, we ethically harvested our goats’ cashmere fibre, their winter undercoat, by hand combing, not shearing, to leave our goats with glossy new coats for the summer. We are excited to be part of Regenerative Textiles movement in the UK, working with likeminded growers, mills and designers to create fabrics with a conscience.
Since starting our farm business in 2016, we have been focussed to running the farm regeneratively – reducing its environmental footprint, improving its value for nature and increasing the nutritional value of its output. For us, integrity is key therefore we take a hands-on approach at every step, from ground to garment. We are members of Pasture for Life and the Nature Friendly Farming Network. We have implemented regenerative agricultural principles and we are constantly learning and improving. The introduction and management of our goats plays a major role in the enrichment of our soils. We rotationally graze our goats on pastures of nitrogen fixing herbal leyes. To further promote soil biodiversity, we minimise soil disturbance by reduced tillage and direct drilling. We plant cover crops to prevent bare soil over winter and allow our goat to graze on crop residuals. To support biodiversity on our farm, we have incorporated wildlife corridors, set aside areas and manage ponds to create stable habitats, planted herbal leyes pastures and planted over 4000 hedgerows and trees with support from The Woodland Trust. Since 2018, we have be involved in RSBP’s Corn Bunting Recovery Scheme to provide environments on our farm to support the UK’s most vulnerable bird species and are happy to report that breeding pairs are increasing year on year.
Back in 2016, we introduced goats on the farm, specifically the South African Boer Goat and the Scottish Cashmere Goat breeds, for fibre production and their environmental benefits to our soils and nature. Goats have a low carbon footprint, produce the most luxurious Cashmere fibre and help to increase biodiversity. Selecting the best genetics and providing our goats with the highest welfare and best environment ensures quality end-products. We manage our herd regeneratively to improve the health of our soils, goats and our environment. Our pasture-fed goats are managed under SRUC Premium Sheep and Goat Health Scheme, running a closed herd in 2016. Our focus is to continue to produce Scottish Cashmere of the highest provenance for our customers, and further promote the ethical production of this sustainable fibre.
Running our farm regeneratively, does not just apply to the impact on our land, it involves your connection with our local community. We feel passionately about bridging the gap between our food and fibre production and the end consumer, something that has been sadly lacking over the last few decades. We work with schools and colleges offering our Goatgetters project, innovative outreach farm education with our goats. Every Easter, we invite our community to join us at very popular Goats in Coats Tours. Next summer, we launch our Scottish Cashmere Farm to Fibre Experiences, day-long, fully immersive, intimate experiences learning how we produce our Scottish Regenerative Cashmere. From combing Cashmere from our goats, to spinning the yarn on shore of Lunan Bay. We go out our local communities to give talks on our pioneering work in Regenerative Scottish Textiles at schools and interest groups. We employ a young stockperson, Maddie, and support her dream to run her own fibre flock of native breed sheep of Shetland and North Ronaldsay. We hope our farm education work on and offsite, inspires the next generation into regenerative farming and textile production.
As we are completely self funded, our pioneering work relies predominantly on sales of our Cashmere garments and farm experiences, including our Goats in Coats Easter tours. If you like what we do, feel free to browse our full range in our online shop, where we offer UK and worldwide shipping.