If you were going to pick a location for a horror film, the peaceful, pastoral setting of Glendown Farm in Port St Mary probably wouldn’t be your first choice.
But that’s what happened in 2004 with filming of the movie Dark, starring Hollywood legend Sean Bean.
For most visitors though, Glendown – with its unspoilt Manx landscape, luxury holiday cottage and campsite – is a place to relax, whether you’re looking to escape the rat race, or vampires!
Taking a stroll down the Truggan Road which cuts through the farm, and admiring the views across fields overlooking the stunning southern coastline, you could be forgiven for thinking it is a place of tradition and tranquillity where time has stood still. However, while successive generations have respected and cherished the environment which now provides a natural home for sheep and cattle to graze, they have also moved with the times.
The farm, with land stretching from Port St Mary to The Chasms and Cregneash, is farmed by Derek and Jane Cain. Jane’s family – the Qualtroughs – have farmed the land for eight generations, so their son William is the ninth generation. It’s very much a team effort with Derek leading the way, supported by Jane who looks after the paperwork. Rugby playing young farmers William and Dave Prince mainly work on the farm, while daughter Nicola (a primary school teacher) helps out at lambing time and during school holidays when her busy schedule allows. Jane’s father Tom, and Jane’s sister Barbara, make sure that the holiday cottage and campsite are kept spick and span, with help from Margy Hargraves and Ella Perry. Jane’s brother-in-law Colin Kniveton keeps the grassed areas neat and tidy.
Derek said: “We have a flock of 300 mule ewes and their lambs. The sheep are all bred to Texel rams, and all of our lambs are sold to Isle of Man Meats. We also have a small flock of Manx Loaghtan and super-hardy Herdwicks. Lambs are fed on grass, and some winter forage crop such as rape.”
In addition to providing top quality lamb for Isle of Man Meats, Glendown’s herd of 85 dairy cattle produce milk for Isle of Man Creamery. Calves are mostly raised to sustain the dairy herd, but some are reared to be sold for beef.
The fact that the farm’s campsite won DEFA’s Diversification Award in 2019 shows how the family are moving with the times, but they are also ensuring that the precious landscape is preserved for future generations. Careful planting and management of 800 metres of thorn hedge, and around two acres of mixed woodland planted 25 years ago, has created a range of habitats which encourage wildlife.
Next time you’re buying meat, it’s worth asking yourself how confident you are about the source of what you are putting on your family’s dinner table. With Isle of Man Meats products, you can be certain that it’s from one of our 220 trusted Manx farms, just like Glendown, where tradition and modernity are perfectly balanced to ensure quality from farm to fork.