It all started back in 2008, when we thought that it might be fun to allow people to see what happens on a small sheep farm in the UK, all without leaving the comfort of their own chair, and so it was: LambWatch was born!
The camera is situated at Marlfield Farm and has been located at various spots on the farm throughout the years. It spends most its time overlooking a field known as the "House Meadow"; a field that slopes down to the valley bottom where it meets a small stream which flows into the village. During the day, the camera points west, meaning that you could catch some really nice sunsets. It also faces the prevailing wind, meaning that during winter, it can get quite stormy!
Throughout the year, we show different areas on our webcam, depending on what might be going on. For example, during lambing season in the spring, we often show footage from inside the lambing shed, or, at summer time, we may setup our webcam so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of making hay.
As well as sheep, you may also spot our free-range hens pottering around as well as pheasants, birds and squirrels! When there is not much happening, there is usually a blue tit or two on the feeder to keep you entertained! Keep your eyes peeled for the woodpecker which visits the feeder from time to time!
Depending on the time of year, you may also be able to see inside our lambing shed to watch the expectant ewes await their new arrivals, or, during the summer, you may be able to watch while we "make hay while the sun shines". You never know what you might see so stay tuned if you can!
We created LambWatch back in 2008 when we thought it would be a good idea to allow people from all over the world to witness what happens on a small hill sheep farm in the UK. It turned out to be quite popular and sparked quite a lot of interest from the media. Our original intention was to create a little bit of fun and originality on the Internet!
Since setting up the website, we have realised that having such technology about the place has allowed us to monitor our sheep and lambs more closely at busy times of year, such as lambing time. Using our webcams, we can observe the animals without disturbing them and therefore reducing stress for both sheep and shepherd!
There are many ways in which you can help to support everything we do at LambWatch HQ. You can browse our lovely gift shop, where you can buy lots of sheepy gifts from ourselves. You can also help to support us whenever you buy online at hundreds of major retailers, such as Amazon, eBay and Argos, without spending a penny more. To find out more, visit our "Easy Fundraising" page.
If you enjoy spinning or knitting, you can help support our work with native and primitive rare breeds by browsing our rare breed yarn shop, where we sell products made from the wool from our rare and native breed sheep.
The LambWatch you see today is a project that has grown since 2008. Since then, as you can expect, technology has advanced at quite a rate: our original microphone was very "home-made" as you can see from the photo! Experimenting with different technologies has been both interesting and somewhat frustrating at times!
The equipment we use for the LambWatch webcam is a combination of systems designed primarily for a standard CCTV system. Our original webcam, which is still going strong, came from Maplin and uses BNC connections. Our newer cameras are a bit more fancy and use IP technology which is a lot easier to setup! Modern "power over ethernet" networking technology allows us to rig up these new IP cameras virtually anywhere in the farm, as long as there is a power socket!
Of course, even with all this technology, you need good software to pick up the streams from the cameras and then broadcast it out to the Internet via the LambWatch webcam. Over the years, LambWatch has used a variety of encoding software and streaming platforms, including Camstreams, Blue Iris and YouTube. We also need a healthy supply of bandwidth to ensure it's good enough quality to broadcast over the Internet and ,unfortunately, because we are in a rural location, our broadband speeds are limited, meaning that "LambWatch in HD" is sadly not available. As soon as fiber broadband arrives, that could change!