Conservation and biodiversity have always been important to me. Using sprays and chemicals never sat easily with me, so evolving into organics just made sense. Thistles, nettles – Dad never let me spray them – you never knew what it would do to old pastures full of herbs. Better to put up with nettles than risk damaging 40 year old pasture.



We are into the 6th Year of a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS) which runs for ten years. Old Parsonage Farm is managed with organic principles and no pesticides are applied to the land. The HLS scheme is an agreement with Natural England who are the Conservation department of Central government.

The grants fund many of the conservation projects on the farmland such as:



  • Planting and guarding parkland trees.
  • Re-instating hedgerows and Devon hedge banks.
  • Laying hedgerows traditionally by hand rather than machine.
  • Creating stubble fields allowing the fields to be fallow over the winter months with arable weeds.

The grants have enabled us to re-instate the hedgerows by way of hedge planting to connect with existing mature hedgerows and create wildlife corridors.

Rotational stubble fields and field margins have been retained and remain fallow over the winter months. The arable weeds and their seeds provide valuable food source for farmland birds in the winter.

Since 2016 we have been regularly surveying the stubble fields for farmland birds. During this time we have recorded large flocks of chaffinch and redwings; on occasion we have sighted some rare birds as well such as, woodlark and cirl buntings.

More recently Dartington have established a wetland site for wildlife on the Queens Marsh, which in the past was solely just used for grazing cattle. Two large ponds and 7 smaller scrapes along the marsh have been created for wetland birds and other aquatic wildlife. Reeds have been planted between the ponds in the marsh to provide cover for birds. Fairly soon some wetland tree species such as, willow and alder will be planted in Queens Marsh, followed by some aquatic plants around the ponds. The Queens Marsh will now provide a dual purpose, linking agriculture and conservation providing a habitat that can be shared with wildlife and cattle.

Reviews from Trip Advisor

  •   I booked this for my brother as a birthday present as he loves goats, and he was not disappointed. Both me and my brother are 19, and we found it... read more

  •   After realising how out of touch our London lives were with the countryside, we thought it would be a fun(ny) experience to milk some cows! When we googled the different... read more

    Talya S
  •   Booked a combination of activities including a tour of the goat milking pens and did goat yoga which was absolutely hilarious. Very educational and the guy doing the tours was... read more

  •   I took my Grandson and we had a fantastic 2 hours, looking round
    the farm, walking the cows to milk, watching milking and milking
    the goats ourselves. My Grandson... read more

    Carole K
  •   I had a gift voucher for the milking experience and oh my god was it amazing. John is so knowledgeable and I asked a million questions and he answered all... read more

  •   The farmer was very professional with his knowledge and explained everything well. We experienced an insight into farm life and were even lucky enough to witness a calf being born,... read more

  •   A fantastic experience that we won’t forget. My seven year old daughter loved the whole experience from calling the cows to be milked to hand milking the goats. We were... read more

  •   Went to the farm last week - booked a milking experience and what an experience! Would definitely recommend for both adults and children, John the farmer was so informative and... read more

  •   I can’t even begin to describe what a wonderful day my daughter and I had. Jon and Lynne are the most wonderful, hard working people I’ve ever had the pleasure... read more

  •   Went to the farm with a youth group to milk the goats, was very sceptical before I got there.
    How wrong I was, it was so interesting and fun, Jon... read more