The Farm At Black Hill is the story not only of the farm and the families who farmed it.
It weaves in the history of the Hurunui District, merino wool and the Romney and Corriedale sheep breeds
Most of all it is a memoir of the very full life of Beverley Forrester, a woman who, as she quips to one of her staff, is not afraid of hard work.
Beverley was brought up on a farm on Matakana Road, near Warkworth, by parents who modelled a strong work ethic and taught their family the importance of community involvement.
She trained as an occupational therapist and soon after graduating was appointed charge OT at Templeton Hospital.
While working in various posts as an OT, Beverley continued to follow her interest in coloured sheep. An invitation to judge at the Cheviot Show led to a meeting with Jim Forrester and she moved to Black Hills.
The marriage was a happy but short one. After just 10 years Beverley was widowed and found herself in charge of the farm.
Eventually she had to accept Black Hills was too big for her and she sold most of it to focus on other work.
She and her staff undertook the restoration of the farm’s historic limestone buildings which became a tourist attraction.
She also followed her passion for wool. English cousins helped her set up a shop in Henley-On-Thames. She exports to several countries, has her own fashion label and her clothes have been shown at New Zealand Fashion Week.
Beverley writes in a matter-of-fact style on everything from dagging sheep to meeting royalty.
I finished this book in awe of what she has accomplished.
You can find out more at her website Black Hills.
The Farm AT Black Hills, Farming Alone in the Hills of North Canterbury by Beverley Forrester with John McCrystal, published by Penguin Random House.
All royalties from the book are being donated to Rural Women NZ.