The scene above is, on the face of it, quite timeless, and was taken just a few steps from home. There are several well-known 20th century paintings of sheep in turnip fields – I remember one from a visit to the art gallery in Glasgow many years ago, though I’ve been unable to track it down.

So, on to today. Economic forces have meant that stubble turnips (sown after harvest directly into the stubble as a catch crop) have been quite commonly planted for winter fodder in recent years after a long time when we never saw them round here (East Devon). The sheep first eat the foliage, and then dig up the roots, leaving a fairly bare field well-manured for the succeeding crop. The other advantage is that a lot less soil gets washed into the local streams during heavy winter rain, compared to a field left fallow.

Why not timeless? The crop is very similar, but the sheep are a commercial breed that looks rather different from the traditional breeds that would have been depicted in the paintings I mentioned. And secondly, you can just see an electric fence in the background keeping part of the crop back for later. So now you know!