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.

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.

The best farmer’s markets in the South West

The best farmer’s markets in the South West

Farming and agriculture West Country Life

There’s nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of a farmer’s market in the West Country. Seeing the beautiful fresh produce all laid out, smelling the fantastic treats, and even tasting some of them too! These things make a farmer’s market extra special, and way better than any trip to a supermarket!

By paying a trip to your local market, you’re not only getting great food for you and your family, you’re also supporting your community. After a few trips you’ll find yourself nattering away with other locals, and you’ll start to understand what is and isn’t available at different times.

At most farmer’s markets, you’ll discover a huge selection of local produce. From vegetables to cakes, bread to meat, there’s plenty for you to try and buy. Feeling excited? We haven’t even mentioned the cheeses available!

These friendly markets are becoming an increasingly large part of West Country life. In Cornwall alone there has been a 30% increase in people shopping at local farmer’s markets, with visitor numbers averaging 1,500 at some markets.

So no matter if you’re going to be exhibiting your own wares, or just embracing West Country culture, here’s our top five farmer’s markets in Devon and Cornwall for you to sample.

Truro Market

This hustling, bustling market reveals the grassroots of Cornwall’s culinary world. Enjoy smoked fish, preserves, bread, and more at this popular market.
Lemon Quay, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9am-4pm
http://www.trurofarmers.co.uk/

Ashburton Farmer’s Market

Enjoy a daily dose of farmer’s market happiness at this fabulous market. A vast array of local produce will keep you coming back for more.
Tuckers Yard, Tuesday-Saturday

St Ives Farmer’s Market

If you want great seasonal produce, then this is the place for you! This regular market was created as a community venture aiming to make fresh local produce available to everyone.
The Guildhall, Thursdays, 9.30am-2pm
http://www.stivesfarmersmarket.co.uk/

Exeter Farmer’s Market

If you want a perfect combination of city and countryside, then check out the market in Exeter. It’s a vibrant market with a huge range of produce.
Corner of Fore Street & South Street, Thursdays, 9am-2pm
https://exeter.gov.uk/people-and-communities/facilities-and-events/markets/farmers-market/

Tavistock Farmer’s Market

Described as a “treasure trove”, Tavistock is without a doubt one of the most popular markets in the area. They’re even working towards more gluten free products!
Bedford Square, second/fourth/fifth Saturday of the month,
http://www.tavistockfarmersmarket.com/index.php

Considering a move to the West Country to set up your own smallholding or farm? Here at West Country Dream we can help you find your perfect property. Find out more here or call Helen on 07816 514667.

Some of the best farm shops the South West has to offer

Some of the best farm shops the South West has to offer

Farming and agriculture West Country Life

The West Country is filled to the brim with culinary delights. There are so many amazing foods and dishes to try, it can almost be overwhelming! As well as many wonderful restaurants, there is plenty of perfect produce for you to try.

Across the South West there are some truly brilliant farm shops. When you make the move, you’ll find that the veg tastes that bit fresher, the meat that bit more succulent, and the fruit that bit sweeter. Wherever you go you’ll find a farm shop to get your weekly produce from, but we’ve made things a bit easier for you and compiled a list of our top 7 farm shops in the South West.

Lobbs Farm Shop

This delightful Cornish business in St Austell is a family affair. Brothers Terry, Ian, and Richard directly supply the shop with beef, lamb, and fresh vegetables.
Their animals are born and raised on the farm, feeding on traditional pastures and meadows.

Our favourite: Try the award-winning pork with cracked black pepper sausages. You won’t regret it!

http://www.lobbsfarmshop.com/default.asp

Lifton Farm Shop

From a small produce barrow outside a family home to an impressive shop – it’s hard to deny that Lifton Farm Shop has grown at an impressive rate over the past 20 years! The shelves are filled with homemade chutneys, ice cream, and juices, not to mention that fantastic butchery. You can even get married there!

Our favourite: Embrace your inner Devonian and try a steak pasty.

http://www.liftonfarmshop.co.uk/

White Row Farm

The goal of this Somerset shop is to be the producer of as much as what is sold as possible. To this day, that goal remains at the heart of their ethos. They also sell as much local produce in a bid to support other farmers in the area.

White Row Farm also has a play park, café, and gift shop!

Our favourite: The locally produced ice-cream is a sure winner on hot and sunny days.

http://whiterowfarm.co.uk/

Darts Farm

It would probably be easier to tell you what isn’t in this impressive farm shop! Darts Farm were most recently awarded UK Large Farm Shop of the Year in the Farm Shop and Deli Awards, and they won that for a reason.

Staff collect seasonal produce fresh from the fields every day, and they have done for the past 40 years. They also use this produce in their restaurant – yum!

Our favourite: Their Luxury Westcountry Hamper is packed full of amazing local treats.

http://www.dartsfarm.co.uk/index.php

Boscastle Farm Shop

If you want the full farm experience, then you’ve got to visit this shop. Set amongst National Trust Farmland and just 50 yards from the coastal path, Boscastle Farm Shop is an absolute country vision. Famed for homemade burgers, sausages and cakes, this is the place to go for foodie treats.

Our favourite: The homemade Rolo cheesecake catches the attention of our sweet tooth every time!

http://www.boscastlefarmshop.co.uk/

Greendale Farm Shop

If you’ve been to Devon, you’re likely to have heard the name Greendale. Famous for their exceptional meat, poultry, and seafood, Greendale wins awards year after year. The family have been farming in the area for more than five generations, and the knowledge learnt over the years has been passed down.

Our favourite: The brunch taster selection box provides everything you need to create a delicious brunch.

https://www.greendalefarmshop.co.uk/

Washingpool Farm

Winner of a Gold Taste Of the West award, this Dorset farm shop sources a huge range of products from the surrounding county. From their own meat and vegetables, to ready meals, soups, and cakes. There’s so much to choose from! In total there are over 100 suppliers from the South West stocked here.

Our favourite: Try the raisin and coriander sourdough by The Wobbly Cottage will make your bread-dreams come true.

http://www.washingpool.co.uk/

Wanting to set up your own farm with potential to selling homemade produce onsite? West Country Dream can help find your perfect property with our Land and Property Search Service. For more information give Helen a call on on 07816 514667 or complete our enquiry form here.

Getting the right land for your smallholding

Getting the right land for your smallholding

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture

No matter the size of the smallholding you’re looking to buy in the South West, choosing a property that has suitable land is essential to ensuring your farm and rural dream has the best possible start to life.

We take a look at why you should always bear in mind what it is you want to do on the land and whether the land you’re viewing is completely suited to allowing you to do it.

Purpose

Whilst property may all be about ‘location, location, location’, if you’re buying a smallholding or farm then there’s an added layer of complexity and it comes in the form of terra firma. Coastal areas will have completely different soil qualities to the foothills of the moors, and soil conditions can sometimes differ significantly within a 20-mile radius of a location.

The start of every search should always begin with what you want to do with the land; you’ll not only focus your mind on how much land you’ll need, you’ll also be steered toward the areas most suited to fulfill your dreams.

Acreage

You know what you want to do, so you should know how much you need. Or that’s the logic anyway!

When it comes to acreage, budget and availability may also come into play.

Land prices across the country have stayed relatively stable in recent years, and in the medium to long term have seen a decent rise in value across the board.

It may therefore be tempting to dive in for lower quality land to get more for your money. If you’re thinking about doing this then make sure that your productivity is going to be as high as it would be with a smaller acreage of higher quality land, and indeed that this lower quality land is still suited to your purpose.

Whilst sheep may be happy to graze on such land, it’s probably not going to cut the mustard if you’re looking to grow crops and alike.

Soil

If you’re planning to grow crops, fruit or vegetables, you’ll want soil that’s relatively fertile and can be easily cultivated. Although there’s no easy way of determining the perfect soil for your smallholding, soil testing is commonly used to work out the acidity level of fields and which fertilisers will be needed.

Testing kits can be bought from most agricultural stores, so there’s no need to get the men in white coats out to do it!

If you’re new to the agricultural world then following in the footsteps of the current land usage is a good way of ensuring you know exactly what you’re getting!

Drainage

If you’re wanting to grow crops or keep a large dairy heard, you’ll need land that’s relatively dry with good drainage. Although the South West is made up of wet clay loam, the majority of smallholdings will have drainage techniques in place to manage surface run off.

Poor farmland drainage and soil levels can influence the yields you get from both crops and cattle and the last thing you want, is to be stuck in a muddy bog!

Remember there’s something for everyone!

Devon and Cornwall is home to land of varying levels, from the rolling hills of Dartmoor and Exmoor to rugged the North Cornish cliff lines, with low lying patches in between.

Whether you plan to keep a few hill sheep or need a paddock for ponies, thanks to the South West’s variety of terrain, it allows all types of farming to take place; great news if you’re looking at smallholdings in the West Country.

Searching for a smallholding?

If you’re looking to buy a smallholding in Devon or Cornwall and want a stress-free solution, West Country Dream can carry out a land and property search on your behalf.

For more information email Helen at Helen@westcountrydream.co.uk or call her on 07816 514667.

Government grants and payments available to smallholders and farmers

Government grants and payments available to smallholders and farmers

Farming and agriculture

If you’re not familiar with farming, buying a smallholding can be a daunting experience. For that reason, knowing whom to call on for advice when things go wrong, or where to seek financial expertise in a time of need are questions that you will no doubt ask yourself at some stage.

But help is available and this includes Government support with grants and payments. We take a look at some of the options that are available to smallholders and farmers

Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)

If you don’t know about it, you’ve probably heard about it; the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is the biggest rural grants and payments scheme in the European Union.

The scheme was formed as part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which the European Commission describes as a ‘partnership between Europe and its farmers’.

It consists of agricultural subsidies and programmes such as the BPS.

The BPS provides support for farmers and smallholders by supplementing the income from their business.

Who can apply?

If you’re a smallholder or farmer you can apply as long as you meet the requirements laid out.

This includes being an ‘active farmer’ with at least 5 hectares (12.3 acres) of land that is used for an agricultural activity.

For more detailed information about whether your farm or smallholding meets the entry requirements please visit
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/505559/BPS_2016_scheme_rules_FINAL__DS_.pdf

How to apply?

For the first time this year farmers were given the option to apply online in addition to the paper form.

Applications for next year can be made through the Rural Payments Service or using a BP5 application form.

Further information

To find out more about the BPS scheme visit the Government website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/start-your-2016-basic-payment-scheme-application-now

Rural Development Programme

The Rural Development Programme is another scheme that stems from the Common Agricultural Policy.

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is part of the UK National Rural Network, which links all development programmes across Europe.

It aims to make England’s agriculture and forestry sectors more competitive by providing farmers with support, tools and grants.

LEADER funding

LEADER funding falls under the RDPE and provides opportunities for farmers to access grants for their business.

Funding is distributed by Local Action Groups, which determine suitable projects.

Projects must support one or more of the 6 LEADER priorities:

• Increase farm productivity
• Support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
• Provide rural services
• Boost rural tourism
• Increase forestry productivity
• Provide cultural and heritage activities

How to apply

To find out what funding is available in your area and how to apply, contact your Local Action Group.

There are 10 across the South West; to see which one you fall into and their contact details visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/448033/Map_approved_LEADER_2014-2020.pdf (map) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/511271/list_of_LAGs_ver_11__March_2016_.pdf (contact details)

More information

To find out more about the LEADER funding programme visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rural-development-programme-for-england-leader-funding

Other types of grants

If your farm or smallholding promotes sustainability or practices environmental techniques, there may be other types of funding within the RDPE that apply to you.

Do your research to ensure you’re not missing out on any grants that you could benefit from.

Visit https://www.gov.uk/topic/farming-food-grants-payments/rural-grants-payments for more information.

Further advice

For more technical advice we thoroughly recommend visiting the Government website, which has a wealth of information.

You can find out more through the links above.

Our farming and smallholder courses

Want to learn more about becoming a smallholder or farmer? Our Devon-based courses and workshops provide information about being a farmer/ land-owner.

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

A guide to farming’s national open day — Open Farm Sunday

A guide to farming’s national open day — Open Farm Sunday

Farming and agriculture West Country Life

Smallholder or farmer in the West Country looking to raise the profile of what you do and share your farming story? Every year hundreds of farmers across Great Britain break their usual routine to open their gates to the public as part of Open Farm Sunday.

What is ‘Open Farm Sunday’ we hear you ask?

Here’s a handy guide to one of the industry’s ‘biggest success stories’…

About farming’s biggest public event

Open Farm Sunday was set up by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) over ten years ago as part of an initiative to build a better public understanding of food and farming.

Since the first open day was held in 2006, millions of people have visited farms across Great Britain.

This year marks its 11th event, when farmers will once again open their gates to the public for one day only, giving them a unique glimpse of life on a farm.

When is it?

This year’s Open Farm event takes place on Sunday, 5th June 2016.

Last year, more than 250,000 people visited 389 farms and LEAF is attempting to top this by incorporating a theme, which will be ‘Discover the World of Farming’, encouraging all types of farms to get involved.

Why should you take part?

Whether you run a smallholding producing fruit and veg or a large dairy farm, the event is open to all types of farming.

By opening your gates to the public, you’re helping people have a better understanding of the industry and hard work that goes into it.

Not only that, it’s a great form of promotion, especially if you plan to sell any of your homemade products!

If you’re looking at buying a farm or smallholding in the West Country, why not go along to an event to see how you could take part in the future?

Some 200 farms and smallholdings have already registered this year, with a large number of these in the West Country.

How do I get involved?

You can decide whether to host an invite-only event or open your farm up to the public. Registration is free and there’s still time to take part this June.

For more information about registering follow this link https://farmsunday.org/

Ideas for things to do on your farm

According to LEAF, one in five visitors to Open Farm Sunday have never visited a farm, so what might seem like the ‘norm’ to you, will be a completely different experience for those who visit your farm.

Whether it’s a small-scale invite-only event or a larger open day, here are a few things you could do on your Open Farm Sunday:

Tours — Take visitors on a walking tour of your smallholding or farm; not only does this allow them to see it, it also gives you peace of mind that they are familiar with the areas they can explore, and don’t go wandering off!

Demonstrations — Demonstrations such as milking, shearing, harvesting, or crop production are great ways of showing your farm in action.

Workshops — Nearby farmers also attend Open Farm Sundays so why not invite local experts to hold workshops. Consider teaming up with your vet to arrange a demonstration/workshop.

Talks — Holding talks during slots throughout the day allows you to allocate time elsewhere and ensures visitors know what’s happening and when.

Machinery displays — Machinery dealers are often looking for the chance to showcase their latest range. Not only does it provide good promotion for them, it gives visitors an insight into equipment and tools used on your smallholding/farm.

Further information

Free resources and more information are available from the Open Farm Sunday website.

If you’re searching for your own smallholding or farm in Devon or Cornwall, get in touch with West Country Dream on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.

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.

Five types of crop suitable for growing on a smallholding

Five types of crop suitable for growing on a smallholding

Farming and agriculture

Some of the West County’s most profitable businesses started off by growing crops on a smallholding. So what can you grow in the West Country? We’ve taken a look at just five of the many types of crop suitable for smallholdings.

Fruit and veg

As obvious as it may seem, some of the most successful farm shops stemmed from growing fruit and vegetables on their land.

From strawberries to runner beans, pumpkins to potatoes, the demand for organic fruit and vegetables is on the rise. Last year the Soil Association reported an increase of 4% in the number of organic product sales.

Whether it’s delivered in a vegetable box to their door, or by wandering through the local farm shop, there will certainly be a demand.

Herbs

Herbs can be great for adding flavour to food and some even boast medicinal powers! What most may not know is that some of the most popular such as basil, mints, coriander and dill are relatively easy to grow.

With so many types of annuals, biennials and perennials, there is plenty of scope to find the perfect plants suited to your smallholding!

Flowers

Looking to put your green fingers to work in the flower world? The West Country’s milder temperatures, especially in Cornwall, allow blooms to be grown successfully throughout the year.

From cut to dried flowers, bulbs to bushes, there is a range of seasonal types for all kinds of customers. Consider supplying local / national florists, garden centres and even showcase them at local markets and agricultural / horticultural shows.

You could potentially create a great source of income; being a speciality crop it allows smallholders to reap high-value rewards for their products.

Trees / plants

Trees and plants are a great way of reducing CO2 and can be a profitable earner for smallholders.

Willow and bamboo are commonly used in natural wicker products, such as furniture and baskets. Bamboo in particular, is fast becoming a new ‘super material’ and is now used in large-scale timber developments.

Trees such as firs, pines and spruces are great for smallholdings running seasonal businesses like Christmas tree farms.

Whether you have 2 acres or 20, there is an array of different sized species appropriate for your land.

Mushrooms

If you have shady areas on your smallholding, why not consider growing mushrooms?

According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the mushroom sector contributes to 4% of the annual horticulture income, which means there’s plenty of room for growth.

Common types grown in the UK include shiitakes (found in shady areas) and oyster mushrooms, which can be can be grown on straw. But the list is pretty much endless, with more exotic mushrooms being grown locally than ever before!

What next?

Setting up a smallholding from scratch with little or no agricultural experience can be a daunting prospect, but that’s why West Country Dream is here to help you along the way.

If you’re looking to take your first steps we can help you with an introduction into being a smallholder with our range of courses and workshops. Give us a call on 07816 514667 or visit our courses page.