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

  •   After waiting over 30 years, searching around the world for the chance to milk a cow by hand we got that and more at Dartington Dairy today !! A lifetime... read more

  •   received a gift of Farmer for a Day as a birthday present, what a great day out, went with my eldest son. An early start 06.30 (not as early as... read more

  •   We really enjoyed our milking experience, spending time with both the beautiful Jersey cows and the inquisitive, lovely goats. We learnt so much about the way Old Parsonage Farm is... read more

    Sarah B
  •   What do you get the man who has everything for his birthday ?? the Milking experience afternoon at Dartington dairy. What an amazing time we had with goats,cows, dogs and... read more

    thumb Windypops73
  •   Fantastic time had enjoying the milking experience with my husband and daughters age 9 and 12. The setting is idyllic, the farmer and his wife totally engaging and full of... read more

    thumb heathersmummy
  •   Wow what an amazing experience- we were made to feel so welcome for our farmer for a day - we had so much interaction and full access to the farm... read more

    thumb Angela W
  •   This was a fascinating and heart-warming experience, getting up close with the goats and learning a lot about the farm and farming too. The highlight was actually milking the goats... read more

    thumb Keith B
  •   Booked this experience as an alternative Easter present for my children aged 9 & 15yrs. After our visit this afternoon i can say that it exceeded my expectations. We were... read more

    thumb Kazkat83
  •   We booked this experience as we wanted to see what life was like on a farm, and we weren’t disappointed! Getting up at the crack of dawn was well... read more

    thumb Holly H
  •   I really can't speak highly enough of this farm. The couple who runs it are extremely kind and were very patient with my tons of questions. For most of... read more

    thumb Alexandra C