Securing your smallholding or farm

Securing your smallholding or farm

Farming and agriculture West Country Life

As with anything, there are some risks to having a smallholding or farm. Thefts frequently cause big problems, and it could even threaten your dream of running a smallholding or farm.

Whilst we can’t convince thieves that they shouldn’t steal, we can give you some advice on protecting your piece of countryside. Animals and equipment are the most commonly targeted, so protecting them could make a huge difference in a thief’s success.

Animals

Livestock is valuable, and thieves know that. There has been an increase in livestock theft across the country in recent years, so keeping those gates and fences secure is even more important. We also recommend that you tag your animals, or use a permanent labelling system such as tattooing. Alongside this, you should also keep an accurate log of all your livestock, as well as up to date photos. If your animals do get stolen, you’ll then have plenty of records to identify them, and thieves will find it harder to do anything with tagged animals.

You could also partner louder, aggressive animals with more passive animals in order to deter thieves. Llamas are notoriously aggressive, and the noise of guinea fowl would send anyone running.

Equipment

Your farm or smallholding is probably littered with expensive equipment which you can’t afford to have disappear. Thieves know this too, so it’s important to keep your tools, quad bikes, tractors, and everything else safely locked away.

Using robust locks can really help, just make sure you haven’t ‘hidden’ the key somewhere obvious (those fake rocks don’t work, and the thief will definitely look under that flower pot). If you can, install a keypad entry system to any outbuildings that you store expensive tools and items in. If you have an item such as a quad bike or tractor, make sure that you haven’t left the ignition key in, instead keep it in a secure place.

Another tip is to use etching or UV marking on your tools and equipment. Once marked, thieves will have trouble selling them on and they’ll be easily identifiable as yours. You should also keep a record of your equipment, including model, serial number, and proof of purchase.

General

There are also a few general things you can do on your smallholding or farm to deter anyone from breaking in and taking off with a goat and a tractor. Security lighting is a simple yet effective way to scare off possible thieves, and metal bars across windows on outbuildings will take away their chance to squeeze in.

Blocking off any unused access is also important, and put up signs on used entrances stating that your animals and equipment are closely monitored and security tagged. You should also take out specialist smallholding insurance, this may prove cost effective when compared to the replacement value of any stolen goods.

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.

Devon vs Cornwall

Devon vs Cornwall

West Country Life West Country Properties

So you’ve made the first big decision, you want to move the the South West, but it is a pretty big place, so we need to start narrowing your search down. The first step is to decide which county is best for you.

Devon and Cornwall both have so much to offer, with plenty of activities, space, and great schools for the kids. Locals will, however, tell you that they’re different. At first, you might not see that yourself, and that’s why we’re here to help you. Here is a brief overview of each county to help you decide whether your new home is in Devon, or Cornwall.

Devon

Devon is split into a few areas that each have their own personality and style. These areas are East Devon, North Devon, and South Devon. As well as this, there’s also Exmoor and Dartmoor, so there’s plenty of choice available.

East Devon is great for beaches and has a real traditional atmosphere. The Jurassic coast is fascinating and there’s loads to keep kids happy. There’s also a lot of great countryside, with a large number of walking routes and the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

If you want rural, then check out North Devon. With world class beaches such as Woolacombe and Saunton Sands, as well as the beautiful Exmoor national park, it really is a peaceful and gorgeous place. The only major road, the A361, only reaches half of the area, so be prepared for plenty of winding country lanes!

South Devon is more populated, with cities such as Exeter and Plymouth, and major tourist spots such as Torbay. But it isn’t all bright lights and high street shops, there’s also the iconic Dartmoor national park.

Throughout the county you’ll find farm shops, markets, and plenty of room for livestock whilst retaining a connection to modern life, with local cities Exeter and Plymouth growing rapidly. If you’re after a beautiful piece of the countryside, but stay connected to a small city then Devon is the place for you.

Cornwall

As the 9th largest county in England, and one of the largest coastlines in the UK, Cornwall is definitely the best place for fans of the seaside! The north coast allows you to dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean, and the South is surrounded by the English Channel.

There’s only one city in the county, Truro, which is fairly central, the rest is small towns and open countryside – perfect for a truly rural lifestyle. The deeper you get into Cornwall, the more you’ll feel like you’re a world away from your old city life.

If you want to throw yourself into farming life, then staying away from the coast will provide you with ample space and many areas are only accessible by small, winding roads. Don’t expect to be able to pop to Tesco at any time of the day here, you’ll be planning your trip a week in advance!
For those looking for an active lifestyle that makes the most of Cornwall’s world-famous coastline, then there are plenty of places to choose from. Many coastal towns have close knit communities and groups of local surfers who know the best spots to catch some waves. Choosing a coastal area doesn’t mean you can’t also have a smallholding lifestyle, there’s plenty of rural areas which are just a short drive from the best beaches in the world.

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.

5 things you should be doing on your smallholding in October

5 things you should be doing on your smallholding in October

Farming and agriculture

Having a smallholding is 24/7, 365-days a year job, and so there’s always something to be done no matter what time of the year it is. If you’re thinking of making the big move, or are about to embark on the exciting journey of having your own smallholding, you may be wondering what you would be doing right now.

In reality you might be sat on the sofa in your pyjamas, or sat at a desk looking at spreadsheets, but for now we’ll imagine that you’re out on your smallholding. You’ve got your wellies on, your hands are covered in mud, and there’s a big smile on your face as you carry out your October jobs…

Picking the last vegetables

Your smallholding is home to some delicious fresh vegetables, but unfortunately we’re now coming towards the end of the harvest so it’s time to get those final spuds, beans, and courgettes picked and brought inside. You can store these vegetables and pop them into your winter stew, perfect for when the colder weather sets in.

Bringing delicate plants inside

Your herbs and other delicate plants have been thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and warm weather, but soon the frost will set in and they will really suffer. Now is the ideal time to bring in those plants that won’t survive the cold. The inside warmth will keep the plants happy, healthy, and thriving.

Start planting

You may have just finished picking those broad beans and peas, and now is the time to put some seeds back in the ground! Planting vegetables such as onions, spinach, peas, and broad beans in October means that you will have lovely produce ready in the spring. Vegetables take time to grow, so getting them in now is necessary.

Check your outbuildings

October isn’t too bad for weather, but we all know that strong winds, heavy rain, and even some ice and snow will soon fall upon your smallholding. The winter months is the most likely time for damage; broken fences and fallen roof tiles are just some of the problems you may face. Give every fence panel and post a thorough check, and get on a ladder and take a look at the roof of your outbuilding.

Start moving livestock

Your animals have probably had a great summer outside, but from October onwards you should start moving your animals indoors. As the ground gets wetter, and the temperature drops it’s vital to keep livestock warm and dry. You’ll also need to start getting in plenty of bedding and food to keep them going over winter. Oh, and be prepared for lots of mucking out!

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.

7 things you won’t find in the city

7 things you won’t find in the city

West Country Life

It comes as no surprise that there are some big differences between cities and the countryside. Your faithful tube-line gets replaced with bi-daily buses and your busy office becomes a field filled with goats; it can sometimes feel like a completely different world.

For those used to large, busy cities, a move to the West Country can seem quite daunting. But believe us when we say it is worth it. There are so many amazing things that just don’t exist in the smoggy city, things that you can only get down in the southern countryside. Here are just a few of those things to get you excited for your big move.

1. Wild ponies

We highly doubt you’ve been walking through an urban landscape and seen a wild pony, but you can do just that in the countryside. The Dartmoor Pony is a special breed that can be found on the rocky moors, and they’re hardy creatures. Specially adapted to deal with extreme weather conditions, these ponies can easily be spotted wandering around Dartmoor but please do note that it is illegal for members of the public to feed them!

2. World class beaches

Sennen Cove was named one of the best beaches in the world for surfing, and Pedn Vounder has been called the 27th best beach in the world. So believe us when we say that there are some great beaches down here! If you’re looking at Devon, then try out Saunton Sands and Blackpool Sands which were named the fourth and fifth (respectively) best beaches in the UK!

3. Ice cream, fresh ice cream

Everyone loves ice cream, and we know you can get it in the city, but have you ever eaten ice cream next to the cow who produced the milk for it? We thought not. At Orange Elephant Ice Cream near Exeter, you can enjoy a tasty treat and meet the cows. Alternatively, take a trip to Callestick Farm and try their amazing homemade ice cream and visit the farm.

4. A good view of the stars

In cities, the night sky is often obscured by light pollution. Street lamps, lights from buildings, and traffic all disguise the stars and you rarely get to see the night sky in all its glory. It isn’t like that in the West Country. The low light pollution means that almost every night you get front row seats to the universe, and it is truly breath taking. You can even have an extra special night by viewing them from the moors.

5. Fitness in the fresh air

No one likes to spend hours in a busy, hot, smelly gym in an effort to get fit so moving to the South West gives you the perfect opportunity to ditch that overpriced gym membership. The clear air makes exercising outside a delight, and there are plenty of walking and cycling routes for the whole family to enjoy.

6. A closer connection to your food

When a farm is a hundred miles away you get used to eating food out of packaging and having no idea where it comes from. Many city dwellers have a real detachment from the reality of what they’re eating, but that all changes when you get to Devon and Cornwall. Shopping locally is encouraged here, and you’ll often find yourself chatting about the produce with the farmer who grew it.

7. People who talk to each other

This can be a little strange at first, particularly when you’re used to sitting in silence next to strangers every day, but the people of the West Country love a good natter. Even if you’ve never met them before, you can be sure that you’ll receive a friendly “good morning/afternoon” and most likely a comment about the weather. Before you know it you’ll be starting conversations with strangers yourself!

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.