Leaving Hampshire for Sherbourne in Devon for the Adventure Travel Film Festival hosted by motorbike travel adventure duo Austin and Lois, I spent the weekend picking up tips on how to create my own travel film and watched some really inspirational travel documentaries. By the Sunday I was buzzing with ideas for filming my next adventure and refreshed ready for the next leg of my trip..
Next stop – Monkton Wyld Court in Charmouth to visit Simon Fairlie and Gill Barron who run The Land Magazine and also farm an 11 acre smallholding onsite producing veg, milk, yoghurt and cheese for the community and guests to Monkton. I’d met Simon and Gill back in January at The Real Oxford Farming Conference and chatted to them about my plans for my online mag so was keen to catch up with them on their home turf…
You won’t see much in the way of ‘modern farming’ practices at Monkton where everything is done by hand or traditional tools like the Scythe pictured below. Even the working horse doesn’t get a look in as Simon mentioned they’d recently ploughed a small plot of land with the help of 8 volunteers tethered to a one furrow plough – rather gutted I missed that photo op!
Simon carrying the turned and hayed grass up to the farmyard where it is spread out for further haying ready to stacked in the barn. Again not a sight you often see in the countryside these days.
Chatting to Gill outside the office to The Land – their occasional magazine about land rights.
Leaving Monkton Wyld I made my way via West to Chagford in Dartmoor stopping on the rather scenic Exeter Road to take a picture of the beautiful landscape.
Arriving to Chagford in the late evening I had some delicious Beetroot soup and setup camp in the smaller of two market garden sites Chagford CSA run by Ed Hamer.
Waking up at 6 to go veg picking I noticed icicles on my boots and realised there had been a frost in August! Ed arrived in his Landrover and drove me and volunteer Izzy to the main market garden site 5 mins down the road.
The view from the main site was simply breathtaking where you can see Castle Drogo in the distance shrouded in plastic whilst being renovated by the National Trust..
With 76 veg boxes to pick and deliver that day we promptly got down to business and for a time it felt as though it might snow but instead we got a refreshing shower.
Rob, Ed’s apprentice grower, loading up the Landrover.
I should mention that the majority of cultivations are carried out either by hand or with Ed’s working horses and his homesteader implement built by Amish engineers and imported from the states (as pictured below where I’d met Ed demonstrating (and had a go myself) at the Daylesford Farm Summer Festival in the Cotswolds see link here to picture story. You can also read a feature article on Chagford by Andrew Wasley which I published earlier in the year here
The final task was to weigh the produce and distribute everything evening across the large and small boxes ready for delivery to collection points.
Once the boxes were finished we had a lovely lunch of beetroot soup, locally baked sour dough bread and cheese followed by homemade short cake. With a full stomach I said my farewells to Ed and the team and headed over to Chagfarm to see their micro dairy, goats and pigs.
The micro dairy where they make cheese and bottle the raw goats milk.
Oxford and Sandy Black pigs which they keep in their woodland. In addition they keep chickens and Billy goats for meat too. You can find out more about their dairy and meat CSA here..
Next stop Trill Farm in Devon. I’d met horticulturist Ashley Wheeler at the Land Workers Alliance Demo outside DEFRA back in the spring and kindly invited me to stop by their market garden business if I was in the area. It was great to see what thriving business they have setup having originally moved to Trill about 4 years ago and supplying many restaurants in the local area including Rivercottage (an adjacent farm) and Mark Hix restaurant in nearby Lyme Regis.
They have around 45 Gotlands ewes – famed for their high quality fleeces and tasty meat.
In addition they have a herd of Ruby Red Devon Cows looked after by Jake the farm manager.
Whilst photographing some of the livestock I met Ringo grazing with the sheep.
Stay tuned for more exciting stories from the next leg of my next indie farm road trip…