Drake & Macefield partner Ian Thompson is now raising his own rare breed Saddleback pigs for sale in the Skipton and Settle shops.

Ian has always been interested in raising his own livestock on a part-time basis and realised that dream two years ago when taking over 35 acres of pastureland on the outskirts of Skipton – fondly known as “The Ponderosa” – to produce
his own Suffolk and Texel prime lambs, also rearing a few cattle.

However, customers are now set to benefit from Ian’s latest venture to breed and nurture Saddleback pigs, after clearing sections of a pine forest in which the two sows Ian uses for breeding purposes and their offspring are free to roam and root to their heart’s content. More than 20 youngsters are currently being brought on and, once they have reached peak
condition, their pork will be sold as both delicious joints and home-cured bacon.

There’s something really special about rare breeds pork. The pigs mature more slowly and put down slightly more fat than their modern-day counterparts, overall producing a higher quality and tastier meat. And the crackling is out of this world – you only have to taste it to be convinced!

Ian explains:

Our customers should be under no illusions whatsoever – by purchasing meat from rare breed pigs, they are helping to ensure the very survival of the species. It’s all down to supply and demand – and the fact that the pork tastes absolutely wonderful is a major bonus too!


The British Saddleback was recognised in 1967 when the Wessex Saddleback and Essex breeds were amalgamated. The body is deep and long, reflecting its advantages both as an excellent breeding animal and as a producer of high quality meat.

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