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Truth Behind Farmer Who Lives In Middle Of M62 Motorway

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Truth Behind Farmer Who Lives In Middle Of M62 Motorway

It's one of the most notable landmarks on the M62 motorway between Leeds and Manchester - the farm that sits slap bang in the middle of it.

More than 100,000 motorists a day are estimated to use the M62, making it one of Britain's busiest roads, so the idea of keeping a working farm going in the middle of it all between seems a little crazy.

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Located between junction 22 and 23 near Huddersfield, rumours have inevitably surfaced as to why it's there - with one common tale told being that the farmer refused to move when the road was built in the 1960s, meaning that it had to be built around them instead.

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As fun as that would be to believe, however, it's not quite as straight forward as that.

Current incumbent Paul Thorp spoke to The Sunday Times in 2017 and admitted that Ken Wild - farmer at the time - did object but it wouldn't have mattered either way.

He said: "He was a proper farmer. He objected to the motorway being built. But they wouldn't have built around him just because he was being stubborn."

The farm was actually saved when engineers discovered a geological fault beneath the farmhouse, making it more practical to build the lanes around the property than through it.

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So what's life actually like on Stott Hall Farm?

Channel 4 documentary The Pennines: Backbone of Britain provided an insight into life on the farm. Credit: Channel 4
Channel 4 documentary The Pennines: Backbone of Britain provided an insight into life on the farm. Credit: Channel 4

Run by sheep farmers Paul and his wife Jill, who live there with their son John-William, they look after more than 900 ewes and 20 Angus cattle.

The couple appeared on Channel 4's show The Pennines: Backbone of Britain and gave some insight into surviving as a farm between six motorway lanes.

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Paul, who first started on the farm as a 22-year-old, said: "It's just like any other farm really. You've got to know your land, know your job and plan around it.

"The only thing is we've got six lanes of traffic through ours. It throws up its challenges, it's very unique."

One particular challenge is of course the traffic. "The mind boggles as to where everybody is going. I just cannot get me head around where everybody's going every day," he said.

In the documentary, Paul is seen tackling the problem of his livestock not jumping out onto the road and colliding with vehicles. In the case that it happens, Highways England staff have to call the farm and the road shuts until the animals have been safely recovered.

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Paul uses traditional methods to help keep the animals penned in - using dry stone wallers to maintain field boundaries.

He explained: "As my grandad said the stone in Yorkshire were put underneath Yorkshire so it could be used on top of Yorkshire.

"There's nowt else that would last, if you put a concrete wall up here, it would just erode in no time."

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It isn't just the motorway that causes an issue to the farm, though, but the altitude it's at too.

Bill Noble, who appears in the documentary to help fix parts of the dry stone wall, comments: "I think there was a story when the motorway was being built, the men that were working on it said they'd never been to a place before where it was a howling gale and foggy as well.

"It's good if you can pick your days when you're working on the highest ground."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/BBC

Topics: Cars, Animals, UK News

Simon Catling
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