The Estate

Family owned Whittern Farms on the Herefordshire Welsh Borders is much more than a farm, an estate or an agribusiness. Although it is all of these, it is moreover a community. This community lives and works around the hamlet of the Whittern and Next End Farm and the fertile land produces a number of different commercial crops alongside a carefully tended environment where bio-diversity and sustainability are encouraged. Jo Hilditch is the current family custodian and is proud of the legacy she is creating along with her strong on-farm team.

The crops on our farm include blackcurrants, cider apples, wheat, barley, vineyards, oats, maize and oil seed rape. We participate in a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, we are part of a Wildlife Trust initiative as well as a clean rivers project. We have acres of rented grassland for Herefordshire sheep as well as 100 acres of woodland which is part of a Premium Woodland Grant Scheme. We also have chickens in large environment enhanced sheds which we supply into a local large producer for supermarkets and beyond. We also are committed to renewables and we have three 600kw chicken litter burners as well as 500kw of solar panels. Not forgetting our two consumer brands of White Heron Drinks and White Heron Properties holiday lets.

Jo Hilditch

Jo is the owner of Whittern Farms. She came back to the farm 25 years ago when her brother very sadly died in a car accident. Her great grandfather had come down from Yorkshire in the 1870s to build a large Victorian house and start his farming career. The farm was always around 600 acres and over the following years it waxed and waned in size with pieces sold off to pay death duties, and pieces bought back when finances (or the bank) allowed. Now following on from her grandfather and father, she is fourth generation.

Being a woman in a male orientated environment has always been part of the challenge that Jo has risen to, and for her the countryside, the farm and the people she works with are of paramount importance. Herefordshire remains front and central!


In this photo the second from right is Jo's great grandfather Richard Green. His passion was Hereford bulls and he was the county's (and indeed one of the country's) prime breeders. In the background you can make out the old Whittern and the larch tree to the right which is still there today. (The sixth oldest larch in GB.) This parkland pasture remains much the same today and generally is rented out for sheep grazing.

TV Appearances

The Whittern Estate has appeared on many TV programmes - Countryfile, the Hairy Bikers, Salvage Hunters, Cooking with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Escape to the Country to name a few.

Jo's most famous TV appearance (where presenting her White Heron Drinks on the show) remains with Dragons Den where she notoriously turned down 3 of the 5 Dragons.