The topographical position of the Farm, near Hungerford is significant, it is fed by the River Dunn whose chalk spring source is only seven miles away, two pure spring brooks also feed the supply. There is no habitation or industrial activity upstream as the land has been owned by the Town and Manor of Hungerford since 1200 and no building is permitted. A 300ft artesian borehole also provides a constant supply of spring water to the hatchery.
The farm has the capacity to hatch 10 million eggs per annum. Over three million fish are grown-on each year, both for the leisure market and for private fishing locations. The farm also supplies fish and ova to River and Water authorities for restocking purposes. Ova are also supplied throughout the UK and to other northern hemisphere countries, although some trade is conducted with areas as diverse as Lebanon, Turkey, Russia and South Africa.
Having the space for producing top-quality fish in perfect condition, the farm prides itself on supplying quality hard-fighting fish for the sporting market, these are in stark contrast to the less well-conditioned fish that sometimes find their way into our fisheries from elsewhere. It's not possible to rear top-class stock in crowded modern tanks, and its vital for Salmonid quality to have an environment where they can lead an unstressed and healthy life in surroundings as natural as they can be.
Producing these "high Fliers" - which is often an apt description of their behaviour when hooked - depends on having the right water, enough space and plenty of time. The calcium rich water from the River Dunn - a tributary of the Kennet, ensures good bone structure, more room in the ponds makes for good fins, and less intensive feeding leads to a better body condition.
All trout are graded mechanically up to a weight of 4oz, after which selection is done by hand. A proportion of both cock and hen fish are held back each year to replenish the breeding stocks. Most of the fish are transported at 1lb to 5lb to Stillwater fisheries and Rivers across the country. Specimen fish over 5lb are also reared. Before making the trip the trout spend two days in a "starvation tank" to slow down their metabolism, this makes for reduced stress in transit, firms the flesh, improves muscle tone and allows for speedier acclimatisation in the new water. It's no wonder that some of the top fisheries in the country have been long-term customers of the farm.
Please Note - The Farm does not supply trout for the table or for the catering industry.