The Skyr’s the limit for Yorkshire Dales farmer

A pioneering Skipton farmer Sam Moorhouse is Britain’s first to make and sell a healthy Icelandic style super-yogurt.

Dairy engineer Thorarinn Sveinsson with Sam Moorhouse

Dairy engineer
Thorarinn Sveinsson with Sam Moorhouse

After completing his National Diploma in Agriculture at Reaseheath and spending time travelling Australia Sam knew he wanted to focus on the future of his family farm.

Sam of Hesper Farm at Bell Busk, initially launched Hesper Farm Skyr at the 2015 Harrogate Fine Food Show after researching ideas on how the family dairy farm could diversify.

Inspired by his research into the Icelandic cow and trips to Iceland to train in the art of making the naturally fat-free skyr, Sam recognised the potential of the product.

After extensive market research to confirm the demand for skyr in the UK, he took the product to Reaseheath Food Centre for initial trials to achieve his perfect formula.

Sam, 22, whose family has farmed locally for generations, is proud to be the first farmer to launch skyr in Britain and the first to bring skyr to the market with British milk. The skyr is produced onsite using milk from the farm’s award winning Airburn herd.

It’s currently available to buy from a host of farm shops and delis across the Yorkshire as well as being stocked by chefs and businesses via Wellocks wholesalers and plans in place for further expansion later this year.

He explains: “I started to read up on skyr when I was looking at ways we might be able to diversify. It really caught my attention because of its massive across Scandinavia and Iceland, and has really taken off in America too.

“It’s a really interesting product with great health benefits and I realised no-one was making it here. We are the first farm to make it onsite with our own specially-trained expertise, using our own British milk.

Baby the cow

Baby the cow

“The cow on our pots and logo epitomises what we are trying to do. It’s a drawing of a cow called Baby that I bought at auction a long time ago. I liked the look of her unusual markings. Her temperament means she always stands out from the crowd too.

She does exactly as she pleases and there is no persuading her otherwise! She’s been with us all these years and really represents our aim in doing something different and making skyr – we don’t follow the herd.”


Skyr (pronounced skeer) is a staple in Iceland and dates back to around the ninth century. It is made by incubating skimmed milk with live active cultures. The water contained in the milk – the whey – is then strained away. Per pot, about four times as much milk as an equivalent pot of traditional plain yogurt is used meaning it’s incredibly thick and creamy. It also means that the skyr contains more protein and calcium than standard yogurt.


Sam realised he would need expert tuition to learn how to make it, so set off for Reykjavik and asked around delis until he was put in touch with dairy engineer Thorarinn Sveinsson, who works for the Icelandic Farmers Union. Thorarinn taught him the labour-intensive process behind making skyr and then visited Hesper Farm once the new purpose-built dairy was finished to make sure the skyr Sam was producing was perfect.

Hesper Farm Syr range

Hesper Farm Skyr range

Thorarinn said: “I had been getting increasing numbers of phone calls from people interested in skyr but I was so impressed with Sam, I knew I wanted to work with him. He has taken the whole  process so seriously and has paid attention to every last detail. In fact he is using a heritage culture which originally dates back to 874,meaning his skyr is genuine Icelandic skyr – the real thing made in the Yorkshire Dales.

“Skyr is part of everyday life in Iceland. I am sure that with its delicious taste and the health benefits you’ll see it becoming part of life here too. I have loved my visit to the Yorkshire Dales. It is a truly beautiful part of England.”

With business going from strength to strength, most recently Sam featured on James Martin’s Home Comforts where he demonstrated his approach to skyr production.

For more information about Hesper Farm Skyr please visit



Phenomenal success for Reaseheath Family Festival

Thousands of visitors flocked to Reaseheath College on Sunday to join in the college’s fun filled Family Festival.

Jack and Annabel Jones from Woore meet Daff and Dehlia

Jack and Annabel Jones from Woore meet Daff and Dehlia

The Nantwich campus was packed with families, many of whom had travelled from outside the region to enjoy the hundreds of activities and displays on offer.

A giant Tyrannosaurus Rex called Tyrone proved a great hit among young visitors as he roamed the lawns while TV personalities the Fabulous Baker Brothers, Tom and Henry Herbert, drew in the crowds with their cookery demonstrations.

Another highlight was a display of natural horsemanship and daring trick riding by the highly trained Atkinson Action Horses, which performed at the college’s Equestrian Centre.

The action packed programme, themed on science and nature, also featured a calf show, sheep shearing, a farmers’ and craft market, student horse riding displays, tours of the college’s zoo, a fun dog show and displays of classic cars and agricultural and military vehicles.

Atkinson Action Horses Roman riding

Atkinson Action Horses Roman riding

Visitors also took the chance to try out the college’s indoor climbing wall, operate a digger, have a go at tree climbing and bushcraft, try brick laying and joinery and test their skills on the high ropes course. Crowds toured the college’s food processing halls, watched lamb boning and cheese making demonstrations and enjoyed making chocolate. There was also lively entertainment from local dance groups and bands.

Reaseheath students took the opportunity to raise money for their RAG (raising and giving) appeal, which in 2015 goes to Macmillan Cancer Support, while former students took the chance to meet up with fellow members of Reaseheath’s Alumni Association.

The Fabulous Baker Brothers Tom and Henry Herbert with Judith Allman

The Fabulous Baker Brothers Tom and Henry Herbert with Judith Allman

Describing the event as ‘phenomenally successful’, Principal Meredydd David said: “It was wonderful to see so many families thoroughly enjoying themselves. The whole campus looked superb, with plenty of activities supporting our science and technology theme.

“I spoke to many visitors who had had a fantastic time but still had not been around the whole campus as there was so much to see and do.

“The whole day was full of the “Reaseheath Experience” of which we are all so proud. This could not have been delivered without the fantastic efforts of all the Reaseheath team.

“The popularity of the festival is further evidence of the huge interest in Reaseheath and its work, especially its success in progressing students into higher education or into successful careers in professions and industries where there are great opportunities.”

See below for a selection of photographs from the the day!


Growing careers in horticulture

Young Horticulturalist of the Year regional winner with Reaseheath's Sarah Hopkinson

Young Horticulturist of the Year regional winner with Reaseheath’s Sarah Hopkinson

Professional horticulturists, careers advisers, students and prospective students packed into Reaseheath’s lecture theatre recently for first North West Grow Careers event.

The day commenced with an introduction to horticulture for career advisers by Chartered Institute of Horticulture Branch Chair, Sue Nicholas, followed by Reaseheath’s Curriculum Area Manager, Sarah Hopkinson, who provided an insight in to the horticulture department’s offering and the new Nation Centre for Food Futures at Reaseheath. The afternoon saw eight industry speakers from the design, landscaping, commercial production and management sectors of horticulture discuss their careers and businesses.

Speakers included: multi RHS gold medalist designer Pip Probert; Phil Pearson from APS Salads (the largest supplier of tomatoes to Tesco); Faye Steer, Deputy Head Gardener for Chatsworth House; Lee Webster from The Landscape Group and former Reaseheath student Sue Beesley, who is also the owner of Blue Cottage Gardens and Nursery.

The speakers highlighted a wide range of career opportunities within the horticulture industry, with many urging the keen audience to pursue a career in horticulture and fill the gaps in specialist knowledge and skills.

Sue Beesley shares her career journey through the horticulture industry

Sue Beesley shares her career journey through the horticulture industry

The Landscape Group actively promoted opportunities within their business including discussing their Greener Graduate programme – with many students registering their interest on the day!

The Grow Careers event was organised in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH) and was followed in the evening by the CIH Young Horticulturist of the Year competition regional final, hosted by the horticulture department.



By Craig Bailey, Reaseheath Lecturer in Horticulture and Course Manager for FdSc Garden and Landscape Design 




Marine mammal emergency averted!

A beached pilot whale and several dolphins and seals were successfully rescued from the front lawn at Reaseheath College on Tuesday.

Fortunately the emergency wasn’t for real, but a simulated situation to enable 37 animal management students to gain an internationally recognised qualification in wildlife rescue.

The one day course was offered to degree students and to Access to HE students who are studying science or animal management. After a morning of lectures and an afternoon of practical instruction using inflatable life sized models, all students achieved their British Divers Marine Life Rescue “Marine Mammal Medic” certificate.

This well recognised award qualifies our students to help in day-to-day marine wildlife emergencies and will be a fantastic addition to their CVs.

The training day was organised by HE Course Manager Kizzy Beaumont and was the third time we have offered this qualification to our students. It has proved so popular that Kizzy is now planning to run a follow up ‘wet’ course on the coast, when students will get hands-on with the rescue of a live marine mammal.

Josh Bufton, a second year Foundation Degree in Zoo Management student, was spotted for his talent by the instructors, who suggested he should widen his knowledge by gaining his advanced qualification.

Josh, who hopes to work with marine species in the future, said “This has been a great opportunity to gain a qualification which will help me to decide what sector I’d like to work in.

“The course was extremely informative and the instructors were very professional. I would highly recommend the training to all students who enjoy learning about marine mammals.”

Co-incidentally one of the instructors, Jayne Dobner, was a Level 3 agriculture student with us in the 1980s and hasn’t been on campus since.

She said: “It’s great to be back. The campus looks a lot more modern than when I was here, but it still has the same friendly vibe!”

Caption: HE animal management students enjoy their marine mammal training on the front lawn


Top training helps Cody kick-start career

Successful motor vehicle alumnus Cody Brookes returned to Reaseheath to share how his time at college helped kick-start his career in the motor industry.

Cody,19, from Nantwich, addressed a captive audience of 40 students in our state-of-the-art Motor Vehicle Technology Centre, with a presentation on starting out in the industry. He shared with students how the knowledge and training gained whilst studying at Reaseheath helped him to secure his first professional role as an apprentice technician with the well-known automotive manufacturer, Audi.

Cody Brookes addresses students in Reaseheath’s Motor Vehicle Technology Centre

Cody Brookes addresses students in Reaseheath’s Motor Vehicle Technology Centre

Based at the Crewe Audi dealership, Cody explained to students how he is supported in his role through Audi’s prestigious Modern Apprenticeship Programme. This 3 year scheme combines full-time employment with block-release training and is designed to equip employees with the technical skills and knowledge to become fully qualified service technicians for the brand.

Cody studied both IMI Levels 2 and 3 in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair during his time at Reaseheath and was thrilled to be invited back to the campus. Our latest cohort of motor vehicle students were very impressed with Cody’s industry knowledge and drive to succeed.

Said Cody: “I’m so grateful for support and training I received at Reaseheath. The experience and skills I gained gave me the confidence to focus my career aspirations and get a great job with good career prospects.”

Motor vehicle students joined by Cody Brookes, Programme Leader Ryan Johnson and Course Manager Steve Ellis

Motor vehicle students and staff joined by Cody Brookes



Career talk inspires travel plans

Adrian Dunn with Level 3 Extended Diploma Agric students Megan Baldwin and Becky Worthington 4mbReaseheath alumnus Adrian Dunn returned to the College to share his experiences of working and travelling abroad.

The former agriculture student addressed our final year Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture cohort and discussed how he spent two years building his industry knowledge on a range of farms across New Zealand and Australia. Adrian began his travels in 2002, working on a 580 dairy herd farm in New Zealand and proceeded on to the Australian Outback where he achieved a role as a maintenance assistant on a five million hectare farm.

Adrian addresses agriculture students

Adrian addresses agriculture students

Said Adrian, “Working on the other side of the world was an amazing experience, it gave me a whole new perspective on work and my career. I made the decision to go to New Zealand after listening to an ex-student’s talk when I was at college myself and I wanted to  ‘give something back’ to the current students. I hope the talk gave students a little inspiration to help them take the plunge and travel too.”

Adrian offered students his tips on organising placements, how to get the best out of work experience and guidance on utilising their time effectively whilst travelling.

Combining work placements with travel, Adrian took the opportunity to embark on the famous ‘Kiwi Experience’ tour of New Zealand and spent time exploring some of Australia’s hotspots. On returning to the UK at the end of 2003, Adrian went on to work on farms across Cheshire, whilst also pursuing a part-time role as a youth worker. He now runs his own children’s sports coaching business, A-Star Sports.

Adrian studied at Reaseheath from 1996 to 1999. He initially completed a foundation course and NVQ Level 2 in mechanics, before moving on to complete his National Certificate in Agriculture (NCA).


If you would like to give our final year students your top tips on how to make that all-important transition from study to work through delivering a career talk or workshop, please contact Alumni Officer Katie Burt on


Inspirational alumnus recognised with award

An inspirational mother of four who travelled from Luton to Reaseheath weekly to study for a new career has been recognised for her outstanding commitment.

Damaris Kuria received a £500 Open College Network West Midlands Region (OCNWMR) ‘Access to Higher Education’ Learner Award after being nominated by her tutors.

Gilly Hughes and Damaris Kuria win Access to Higher Education top students' accolade at Reaseheath Further Education Awards Ceremony 2014

Gilly Hughes and Damaris Kuria receive Reaseheath College Access to Higher Education top students’ accolade at Reaseheath Further Education Awards Ceremony 2014

The former finance assistant, who used our Access to Higher Education Diploma to boost her knowledge in farming, is now studying for a BSc Business Management (International Food and Agri-Business) at the Royal Agricultural University. She hopes to return to her native Kenya to run her own farm and to use her expertise in business finance and agriculture to work with African farmers.

Damaris, a mature student who returned to education after redundancy, chose agriculture as she felt it offered a fulfilling career with plenty of opportunities. She made the hard choice to leave her husband and young family at home because she felt studying at Reaseheath would prepare her best for her degree. Despite her family commitments, she achieved exceptionally high marks and an attendance record of nearly 100%.

Said Damaris: “While I was at Reaseheath I learned a lot about 21st century farming and I’m enjoying studying it in greater depth.

“Although adjusting to the college environment, being with new people and living in student accommodation was a challenge at first, I was hugely supported by my partner, the college staff and fellow students. Everyone went out of their way to make me feel at home. My degree studies are going well and I’m enjoying every part of the course.”

Our Access to Higher Education Diploma prepares mature students for degree level study.

Find out more information about studying for a degree at Reaseheath here.  


A thoroughly foodie wedding

Food alumni James Yuill and  Rachel Frankish wed at Reaseheath Hall

We are delighted to announce the food department’s first wedding – James Yuill and Rachel Frankish, who tied the knot on November 1st .

James joined Reaseheath in Key Stage Four as a young apprentice and Rachel joined the food technology diploma group a couple of years later.

They both enrolled on the Foundation Degree in Food Technology with Management at Reaseheath in September 2010 and  their friendship blossomed into romance in January 2011.

James and Rachel cut their wedding cake - designed by cake decorating expert and alumnus Sam Copeland

James and Rachel cut their wedding cake – designed by cake decorating expert and alumnus Sam Copeland

weddingOn October 13th  2012,  James proposed (on bended knee) in front of family and friends at Rachel’s birthday meal. The tears flowed as much as the wine – especially when she accepted!

The whole department waited with anticipation for the wedding date. But they were just too busy studying and researching!  Their studies came to an end though and they both gained their BSc (Hons) in Food Technology with Management in September 2013. James started a new position at Carton Lodge Cheese and the couple moved to Clitheroe. Rachel has since secured a position at Farmers Fayre.

Wedding plans started with gusto and the couple booked Reaseheath Hall for their ceremony. They said they wouldn’t want to be married anywhere else. It was a gorgeous ceremony for two outstanding people who have made Reaseheath proud. The couples family, friends and Reaseheath lecturers attended and a good time was has by all! (and Sam did the cake!!)

We wish James and Rachel all the very best as they start their married life together.

Sam Copeland

Lecturer and Course Manager, Level 2 Diploma Bakery and Patisserie 

If you’re interested in cake decorating and are impressed by Sam’s cake decorating skills – take a look at our new Professional Cake Decorating course starting in February 2015.




Travel savvy sheep shearer shares tips on working abroad

Nick Greaves talks to students about his time travelling ing NZ and Australia


Agriculture alumnus Nick Greaves visited the agriculture department last week to share some great tips with our current students on travelling and working abroad.

Adam Henson talks to Nick Greaves during Countryfile filming at Reaseheath in 2013

Adam Henson talks to agriculture student Nick Greaves during Countryfile filming at Reaseheath in 2013

Nick, 20, studied on our Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture. On achieving a Distinction in 2013, he began his shearing travels in Norway and then moved on to New Zealand and travelled in Australia.

Back in the UK for a short break, Nick has most recently been working as a shepherd on a 4500 pedigree sheep farm out in New Zealand.

He returns to New Zealand to begin his latest assignment as a shearer for Woolqual, based in Hawke’s Bay.

Nick Greaves L3 Ex Dip Agriculture visits Reaseheath 1MB

Agriculture alumnus Nick Greaves during his visit back to Reaseheath College



Nick plans to spend the next few years shearing all around the world. He is keen to continue to gain knowledge of different farm enterprises before returning to the UK to take over the running of his family farm in Stafford.

It’s great to see Nick doing so well and encouraging our current students to strive for their career goals.

As our alumni community grows, we are keen to continue to highlight the successes of our former students.

If would like to come back to the College to share your  industry experience with our current students, please contact us on or +44 (0)1270 613219. 





Vehicle technicians drive careers forward

Aftersales Manager John Oakley with new recuit Cody Brookes 11th Nov 2014 3MB

 Last week, Alumni Officer Katie Burt visited two former motor vehicle students in their new work places, accompanied by Programme Leader Ryan Johnson.


Cody Brookes and Jack Salt at Reaseheath Presentation of Awards 2013. Congratulated by Peter Kendall, Emily Thrane and Principal Meredydd David as top Level 2 Motor Vehicle

Cody Brookes and Jack Salt congratulated as Level 2 motor vehicle ‘top students’ alongside Peter Kendall, Emily Thrane and Principal Meredydd at Reaseheath’s FE Presentation of Awards 2013.

The two students, Cody Brookes and Jack Salt studied Levels 2 and 3 IMI Diplomas in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair during their time at college.  Both Cody and Jack have gone straight onto prestigious training programmes within the motor industry having completed their studies this summer.

Cody is training as an apprentice technician with Crewe Audi, whilst Jack is working in a similar role, developing his skills with Robert Eardley Skoda in Crewe.

Jack mentioned: “I gained a great set of skills at college, which I’m developing even further in my new job. Support from staff and working with other students helped to give me the confidence I needed to start my career at Skoda.

Jack Salt with Robert Eardley Skoda Gen Man Brett Davies and Aftersales Manager Paul Griffiths 4MB

Jack Salt alongside Robert Eardley Skoda’s General Manager Brett Davies and Aftersales Manager Paul Griffiths

Working alongside Jack at Robert Eardley are a further three former Reaseheath students, who are all in training to become fully qualified service technicians for Skoda.

Both dealerships were impressed by Reaseheath’s drive to encourage young people to develop technical and specialist industry knowledge. Crewe Audi’s Aftersales Manager John Oakley went on to comment: “It’s fantastic to work with young people like Cody, who are confidently focused on their future careers and are keen to learn.

“I believe studying at Reaseheath gives young people the foundation they need to be successful in the industry.”


Positive comments on social media from Crewe Audi  about our students

Great comments from Crewe Audi



We love to hear about where life has taken our former students – the next steps they have taken and the successes they are experiencing.

If you have story you would like to share, please contact us on or +44 (0)1270 613 219 – it would be great to hear from you.