Here at Devon Farm Holidays we are very sad to have closed our doors to our guests but understand the importance of the situation we find ourselves in. However, many of our accommodation providers are indeed working farms. For them, business with the farm must continue. Therefore, we thought it would be nice for you to see what the farms and the people running them are up to. So welcome to our ‘What’s on at the Farm’ series, we hope you enjoy. This week we are focusing on a farm called Pickwell Barton located near to Putsborough and Woolacombe beach.
Having been in the Cook family for over 100 years, the farming life is something that is in the blood of the Cook family. The farm is over 300 acres of which they traditionally rear sheep and cattle as well as grow crops of cereal wheat, barley, oats and swedes. We recently caught up with Jane and Andrew the current Cook owners to see how this year was going.
What has been happening on the Farm
Jane and Andrew are both upset to have closed their doors to their guests, having been the first time in over 40 years! However, they both understand the importance and are doing their bit to get the nation back on track, even more so as they produce food for the nation with their British farm. Although the holiday cottages are closed for now, the farm must continue.
Jane and Andrew also care about the amazing countryside that has given them so much. So this winter they set aside 10 acres of land at Pickwell Barton and planted it with a crop that provided much-needed food for birds over the winter. Over the course of the winter and now moving into spring, Jane has observed a huge amount of wildlife which shows how much good the crop is doing.
Having a flock of over 550 sheep has meant a very busy spring period for the Cook family with a lot of lambs being born! Over 100 of these sheep had triplets, they even had 4 sets of quads, which is a lot of lambs to keep an eye on. Jane herself has had to look after any orphan lambs, all of which are very cheeky with individual characters. With the weather being so wet this year, it has put some extra work on the family. The lambs have not been able to get out onto the fields which means more work and more cost. However, now the sun is shining they have been able to let the little ones outside with their mums.
With the weather finally drying up at Pickwell Barton it has enabled the tractors to get back into the fields, which is the first time since October! Andrew is now out sowing seeds, but with the weather having been so wet for the past 6 months some of the crop is having to be re-drilled which has had some costly effects on the business. The crops being drilled this winter and spring are oats, spring barley and beans.
What is next for the farm
Although lots of work has already begun, the work of a farmer is never finished. We asked Jane what was next on the farm at Pickwell Barton. Up first is the cleaning of all the sheds which have had the sheep in for the last 3 months. They will be keeping an eye on all the lambs as they continue to grow, making sure they have everything they need. The crops will be monitored for growth and field maintenance will be done around the farm. Jane herself is also going to be heading into the gardens for the cottages. Keeping on top of the lawns and gardens ready for when they can welcome guests again.
We hope you have enjoyed this blog and if you want to learn more about Pickwell Barton Farm be sure to take a look at their page on our website.