We’ve been visiting this part of Devon for many years, having our summer holidays here for the last 14 years; with each passing year we’ve noted the village of East Portlemouth struggled to keep its community vibrant (no criticism intended, we know a committed team work hard at many events) but the fact is there are less villagers and more holiday homes, as an older generation passes. Indeed Mr Uphilldowndales aunt N was one of that community
So it was very exciting to see (and hear) a new vibrancy to the village that has been brought my new tenants of the farm that wraps itself around the village, the aptly named Village Farm. The farm has lain unworked for a number of years and now its not so much being worked, as nourished, regenerative farming ; delivered with an infectious enthusiasm and acres of passion. I could try and describe their work, but I couldn’t do it as eloquently or a knowledgably, So I’ll send you to the website of Village Farm, do watch the video.
They use a method of grazing called ‘mob grazing’ a large number of animals, sheep in this case, in a small area of land for a short period of time, you’ll have to believe me if I tell you there are 800 in here somewhere… happily and noisily munching away.
Here they are coming down the village, with resident neighbours willingly mucking in with traffic and sheep herding (no dogs were used)
They can move at quite a pace
A view from the other side of the estuary gives an idea of what’s involved, this field, which will house the Field of Light, later in the year was grazed over three days
Then it was time to move on to pastures new, with the sheep back off up the village again.
The photographs on Village Farm’s facebook page are gorgeous, the sort of work that oozes from knowing your subject, field skills and, as mentioned, acres of passion .
(We can’t wait to see the pigs next year).