Countryside Stewardship Scheme
From 2016 to 2025 the farm is in the Countryside Stewardship scheme at the Higher Tier level – a very competitive and complex agreement for the most environmentally significant sites in the UK, building on the previous decade of environmental improvement work that we carried out through Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) 2006 – 2016. Countryside Stewardship’s priority is to protect and enhance the natural environment, in particular the diversity of wildlife (biodiversity) and water quality. Work focuses on: restoration and management of species-rich grassland, enhancing precious culm grassland, continued management of hedgerows for diversity and ongoing management of the traditional orchard. Our native breed cattle and sheep are key players in managing our swards for diversity.
Environmental work carried out on the farm for the ten years to 2016 was wide-ranging and included the building of an otter holt, restoration of Devon hedgebanks, restoration of and new planting for the traditional orchard, increasing the area of culm grassland in the woodland, fencing the woodland from poaching livestock, and the restoration of an 18th century stone and cob barn.
The farm is run on a low input, no artificial fertiliser system, using well rotted farmyard manure on those fields where we work to maximise grass for the livestock. There are also a number of fields that are left unimproved to encourage the significant numbers and varieties of native wildflowers, grasses, insects, small mammals and birds that thrive on poorer soils. We also produce our own solar generated electricity; our cow barn roof is covered with photovoltaic cells.