At Hartwell Clothing we are confident that all lovers of the British countryside would share our opinion, that country living is heavenly. With bountiful fresh air, glorious nature on your doorstep and a much slower, gentler pace of life, getting dressed in Hartwell and getting out into the countryside in any season is just wonderful.
But what about those that have no choice other than to work through winter every day?
Many of us enjoy getting out and about into the countryside during winter and enjoying those leisure pursuits we love such as walking and hunting, while resplendent in a Hartwell ladies country shirt and horse-riding in a Hartwell gilet and we look forward to enticing the children out onto sleds and to build snowmen in the snow.
But for countryside workers, winter does not mean that work stops, and working conditions in the depths of winter can be harsh. Livestock still has to be tended, maintenance schedules kept and quickly assessing winter weather damage so as to make speedy repairs can add to the workload.
Stables still need workers and for many farm shops, winter is often busier than ever.
For those that have to work on the Farm
Farming work continues in winter, with animals being moved, some crops being harvested, particularly hardy vegetables such as Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbages, Leeks and Parsnips. In addition the winter months also provide a good opportunity to carry out maintenance on farm buildings, such as clearing out gutters and repairs to fencing and roofs etc.
Also there is always maintenance work on a farm in terms of machinery in preparation for the busy spring period. Icy temperatures often have a negative effect on equipment and machinery that is not run occasionally and maintained can seize up, particularly in sub zero temperatures, resulting in expensive downtime as spring appears.
Gamekeepers, forestry workers, fishing bailiffs and winter harvesters will all be working through winter, while ministers, shopkeepers and vets will keep providing services for rural people and animals. All these trades know the value of quality winter countryside clothing that allows freedom of movement and still keeps the ladies ahead in the fashion stakes.
Hartwells leggings and jeans are one of our most popular winter garment lines as the ditsy dresses and lightweight blouses are consigned to the bottom of the wardrobe or for those lovely fireside drinks parties or countryside pub lunches with a roaring log fire.
Farm livestock will require extra care and attention to keep them warm and healthy when the chilly weather arrives and farm workers need to adopt a proactive approach to ensure a safe winter for their valuable livestock.
However winter countryside working is not a chore for everyone and for some people the idea of winter in the countryside fills them with joy. If you like the idea of working outdoors in woodlands or riverbanks and you have some spare time, why not volunteer.
It’s not all heavy manual labour and you could help identify plants in a nature reserve, pick up litter, pull up weeds or clear footpaths. You may even get the chance to learn a skill, such as hedge-laying, coppicing, haymaking or dry stone walling.
• Find out more about volunteering with your local Wildlife Trust, including current opportunities, at wildlifetrusts.org/volunteer. If British waterways peak your interest you can help keep the 2,000 miles of English waterways clean by volunteering for The Canal and River Trust. canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer
Winter for Stable Hands
Caring for horses in winter can often cause divided opinions, but one thing all stable hands will agree on is that good quality , warm hard wearing clothing is a must have and that Hartwell Clothing ticks all the boxes with everything you need from easywear practical Gilets and warm winter jackets like Hartwells padded Poppy Jacket made from a wool, silk mix to our choice of Hartwell Knitwear.
Like us human folk, horses will be cold outside in the winter, but we should remember that over tens of thousands of years horses have evolved to live outdoors all year round.
They even have their own central heating system, when long-stemmed forage is digested, it produces heat and keeps them warm. They will also grow a thicker winter coat.
So the differences in opinion tend to stem from those that believe in turning out all summer and stabling in the winter as a common practice, and those who advocate a mixture of stabling at night and turning out during the day as the perfect compromise.
It can be hard at first to know what’s best for your horses, as we can’t exactly ask them if they are feeling a bit nippy !! For many stable owners and managers it’s very much a case of finding out which solution suits each horse as there will be those who feel cramped and cooped up in stables and those who relish the cosy environment.
Everyone working throughout the winter in stables needs high-quality outdoor clothing that is also well cut so as to be flexible when you’re moving around all wrapped up. You’ll find a warm, windproof and waterproof coat like the Hartwell June Wax Jacket is your best friend for everything you do in the wintertime and that includes the daily chores such as taking the children to school or popping out to do the weekly shop.
Now is the time to check your winter footwear as well to ensure you’ve at least got sturdy boots or shoes and wellies for the mucking out or waterlogged farmyards. Both are vital for getting around the often muddy and slippery country lanes. If your winter footwear is looking a little battered then we recommend our friends at Fairfax & Favor for a great range of countryside footwear.
wrapping the blog and wrapping up warm
The countryside can feel still and quiet during winter, as nature hibernates, The Hartwell team love winter countryside walks.
The winter seasons don’t have the same hustle of industry as harvest time or the warm green glow of spring or summer. But that doesn’t mean that the nature and wildlife of the countryside aren’t still working quietly away or teeming with life.
While we curl up in the warmth this winter or enjoy our local green spaces on chilly walks, there are still things that we can do to do our bit for the countryside and to support those working hard ready to bring in the harvest next year or preserve our countryside heritage.
Live well, dress well, Hartwell