5 reasons why farming in the West Country is amongst the best places in the UK

5 reasons why farming in the West Country is amongst the best places in the UK

Farming and agriculture West Country Life

Making your first steps in the farming world, but unsure whereabouts in the UK you should settle?

Whether you’re looking to keep a small flock of sheep on a smallholding or start up a dairy herd on a larger farm, begin and end your search in the West Country — one of the best places in the UK!

What makes the West Country one of the best we hear you ask?

Here at West Country Dream we have the answers!

Mild climate

If you’re planning to keep livestock and cultivate crops, you’ll want land that is dry for most of the year around (well as much as that is possible in our temperate climate!).

Being so close to the sea, the South West has the highest average temperature of any other area located near the sea. As a result, the chances of snow during winter months are very low, which is great news if you plan to keep livestock outside for most of the year around.

The West Country’s warm summers also mean crops can be harvested as late as October, while the ground is still dry.

Tourism opportunities

The West Country is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK, with more than 34 million visits made over the last year.

This is not only beneficial to those who have, or are looking to diversify into tourist accommodation. Setting up a smallholding with plans to sell your own produce via a farm shop? You’ll also benefit from the mass influx of tourists during the summer months.

Land prices

More and more people want their very own slice of the countryside and this has seen the value of farmland rise remarkably over the last ten years, but things are on the change….

The price of livestock and arable land in the West Country remains competitive, but still cheaper than other areas of the UK, including the bordering regions of the West Midlands and South East.

Land experts are also predicting prices will stabilise over the next year so now could be the opportune time to start looking for your very own West Country dream!

Low crime rates

No matter where you choose to live you’ll want to be at ease knowing you and your family are in a safe environment so you’ll be pleased to hear that according to Government statistics crime levels in the South West are amongst the lowest in England!

Award winning beaches

At the end of a busy day on the farm, why not escape to some of the UK’s top rated beaches? The West Country is home to Devon and Cornwall’s many award-winning beaches, as highly recommended by Trip Advisor and National Geographic. These include Carne Beach near Truro (National Geographic), Woolacombe Beach, North Devon (Trip Advisor), Porthminster Beach near St Ives and the well-known Fistral Beach in Newquay.

If you’re looking for a balanced quality of life, the West Country is the place to be.

Find your West Country Dream

Want your very own slice of the West Country? Let us do the searching for your perfect farm or smallholding, while you spend your time exploring the beautiful beaches nearby.

Visit our services page or give Helen a call on 07816 514667.

Right to roam on a smallholding or farm

Right to roam on a smallholding or farm

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture

With more than 6,000 miles worth of public footpaths stretching across Devon and Cornwall, if you’re looking at buying a smallholding or farm you’ll need to be aware of any rights to roam on your land and what it means for you.

We take a look at all you need to know about public access on your smallholding or farm……

What are public rights of way?

Public rights of way legally permit anyone to access land via designated paths.

The two main types of paths that could affect you as a landowner are:

1. Public footpaths: only open to walkers.
2. Public bridleways: open to walkers, horse-riders and cyclists.

How are they outlined?

Public footpaths can be marked differently depending on the whereabouts of the farm or smallholding.

The most common form is a white or yellow arrow with a green background pointing in the direction of the path. It will also state clearly whether it’s a footpath or bridleway.

These signs are at all footpath junctions and are maintained by the local Highway authority.

If routes are difficult to follow, waymarks may also be used. These arrows may differ in colour under the system recommended by Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales.

Who is responsible?

The majority of footpaths and bridleways in England and Wales are maintained by the local authority and its Highways department. If your smallholding or farm has a public route you will also be responsible for some elements, which we explain below.

Your responsibilities

Although much of the responsibility lies with the local authority, as a landowner there are some areas you will be accountable for.

These include:

Keeping routes clear — All footpaths must be free from obstructions such as padlocked gates, fences, hedges, and wire mesh. Remember paths can be open to both walkers and horse-riders so ensure vegetation does not impinge on the routes.

Field-edge paths — Any cultivation must be at least 1.5 metres away from a field edge path and 3 metres for a field edge bridleway.

Cross-field paths — Although the Government advises not cultivating land with cross-field paths, it does allow it, providing the path surface is restored 14 days after crop cultivation or within 24 hours for subsequent cultivation. Visit the Government website for full details https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-rights-of-way-landowner-responsibilities

Stiles/gates — Must be maintained if they’re on your land. Some of this cost can be claimed back from the local authority.

Crop sraying — Use approved pesticides if spraying crops in a field that has a public right of way.

Additional signage

If paths need to be marked clearer, the Government permits you to install additional waymarks (which can help to avoid people accidentally wondering through all of your land). Signs should also be put up to warn the public of any potential dangers such as slurry pits or animals.

NB: Signs that are misleading to the public can be removed by local authorities.

Livestock in fields with footpaths

If you’re considering buying a smallholding or farm bear in mind the law states certain types of dairy bulls over 10 months old are forbidden from fields with public rights of way.

All other types of breed are allowed as long as they are accompanied by cows or heifers.

Walkers’ rights to roam

Farmers and smallholders are protected by certain laws, which apply to walkers and their dogs.

If walking through a field with cattle, dogs must be kept on a lead that is no longer than 2 metres, at all times. This also applies from March 1 and July 31 to protect ground-nesting birds.

Does the farm/smallholding have any public rights of way?

Avoid any surprise visits from the public by checking if there are rights to roam on the land before purchasing a smallholding or farm. This is something we can do for you when searching for your ideal property.

You can also check this with your local authority, which will have a map showing the routes.

Rights of way in Devon can be found here: http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/environmentplanning/public_rights_of_way.htm

Click here to see the rights of way in Cornwall: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/countryside/public-rights-of-way/public-rights-of-way-interactive-mapping/

Looking at moving to Devon or Cornwall, to buy a farm or property with land, get in touch with West Country Dream, on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.