Meet The Team
At present we are a small farm team and a board of Trustees but we are supported by many volunteers, good neighbours and friends.
Robert Musgrave MBE - Chairman
I have been connected to East Shallowford since Elizabeth Braund raised the funds to purchase it in 1976. I first worked with Elizabeth when I arrived as a volunteer to Providence House Youth and Community Centre in Battersea, south London in 1973. So I was involved at the experimental stage of the ‘Lung for the City’ project, when Elizabeth and Rosemary rented Bag Park Manor, Widecombe, in 1975 to pilot the scheme.
In subsequent years, as the Senior Youth Worker at Providence House, I have played a central part in organising the groups from London that came for residential stays to East Shallowford. I was one of the first trustees of the Shallowford Trust, and during the last few years I have been privileged to play an increasing role in developing the partnership between Providence and Shallowford, between town and country. All my family, Susan, and our three children have enjoyed, helped and ‘farmed’ at ESF.
I have worn down many minibus tyres over thousands of miles down the A303 over the years, and these visits have consistently been one of the most rewarding aspects of our work with young people and families in London. Despite the recent loss of our minibus, by hook or by crook, we will be returning again and again.
Debbie Sandels - Trust Manager
Debbie was appointed manager of the Shallowford Trust in February 2014.
Debbie graduated in Environmental Biology in 1979 and started teaching Biology in 1980. In 1989, as a Head of Biology in Plymouth, she left teaching in main stream education, to buy a small farm in Hennock, Devon and there develop Longlands Field Studies Centre, with her husband and parents.
Following this successful venture she established an environmental team at Heatree Activity Centre, Manaton, working as their Lead Instructor in Environmental Education from 2001 until leaving in 2014 to take up her current role.
She has developed many outdoor activities to inspire and educate young people in the exploration and understanding of the outdoors, sharing them with young people of all ages and backgrounds.
She has trained many instructors in Environmental Education activities developing an inspirational team. She is now living at the farm with her husband Alastair, working with the Trustees to direct and manage the future development of the work that Elizabeth Braund and Rosemary Bird began.
Rev. Geoffrey Fenton - Trustee
Shallowford is just a mile from Widecombe-in-the-Moor with its beautiful granite church, and where I am the Team Vicar. Widecombe is part of the Moorland Team which covers parishes over much of Dartmoor, and includes Ashburton. I met Elizabeth Braund the day I was licensed as Vicar in 2011, and have been inspired by her vision ever since. She invited me to become a Trustee in 2012.
I’ve arrived here after a varied career – spending 17 years working for a forestry and landscaping company – Fountain Forestry – with 8 of those years living on Dartmoor. I then had a second career as a director of a major Internet company (Easynet). Since my ordination in 2001 I have been combining ministry with running my own IT business which is partly involved in charity fund-raising activity.
I love Dartmoor life and am very interested the moorland flora and fauna (flowers, birds and butterflies mostly!), as well as its farming history and archaeology. I enjoy a bit of trout-fishing and gardening and I’m learning bell-ringing. But foremost I love working in the moorland communities.
Sue Adams - Trustee
I am recently retired from teaching in Germany with Service Children’s Education and now live in Wellington, Somerset.
I met Elizabeth Braund through The Braund Society ( a family history group) and was immediately impressed and intrigued with her life story.I offered to help sort and store her huge archive of photographs and ephemera which I have thoroughly enjoyed doing.Beyond that, I am involved in voluntary work – mainly with SSAFA and OXFAM and of course the continued progress and success of East Shallowford Farm.
Rev. Jon Doble - Trustee
I am one of the new trustees at Shallowford Farm and am pleased to be a part of this exciting venture to help shape the future of this unique resource. I live in Newton Abbot and I am a Methodist minister looking after a number of churches locally including Dunstone chapel near Widecombe where there has been a link with Shallowford farm for many years. My hope is that I will be able to bring my experience and enthusiasm to the work that needs to be done at Shallowford Farm and with the other trustees shape a vision and resource for the benefit of people who come to experience something of its spirit.
My own background is in social care as well as the Church. I have previously worked as a social worker in London and then worked for Barnardo’s the children’s charity as a regional manager developing and running services for families and children. I then spent five years as the Director of a Christian charity in Bristol before moving to Devon to become a full time church leader for the Methodist Church.
The development of Shallowford Farm as a resource with Christian roots and foundations brings many very real opportunities. The farm rests in the glorious surroundings of Dartmoor to allow people to experience something of God’s creation and to explore their own response and reaction to it in an atmosphere of peace and nurture.
I look forward to working with staff and trustees to help shape and grow Shallowford Farm into a place of vision, spirit and peace
Anthony Thompson - Trustee
I live and work in London. I am a town planner working for the Civil Service. I have been a Trustee since 2007 and led the project to refurbish the main farmhouse building in 2010.
A chance conversation about my ability to drive a mini-bus led to my first visiting the Farm on a family weekend about 20 years ago. What has kept me coming back is the wonderful sense of community and the natural beauty that exists at Shallowford.
Elizabeth Braund’s vision, which remains at the core of our work, is to provide a home which is welcoming to all and an environment where, free from everyday pressures and surrounded by God’s creation, we can be refreshed and made stronger by being reminded that the best gifts in life: love, joy, friendship, compassion and peace are free.
Serena Walcot - Administrator
Serena Walcot works in the office as an administrator and cooks for the groups as well as taking part in most of the activities with the visitors. She first came to Shallowford in 1992 when she joined Elizabeth Braund’s weekly Bible study group. She helped out with groups from time to time when ever possible and eventually came to work for Elizabeth in 2005.
Prior to this Serena has worked as the matron and manager of a Care Home for the elderly, cooked in a restaurant and worked as a physio assistant in a special needs school.
David Davies - Trustee
I have always been inspired by the work and mission of Elizabeth Braund and Rosemary Bird and for nearly twenty years I enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the farmhouse. With a career in both international banking and the voluntary sector, I was delighted when invited to become a Trustee of The Shallowford Trust in the Spring 2015.
I hope that my experience in fundraising and charity governance will add value to the Trustees’ broad skill base, ensuring Shallowford’s role as a ‘second home’ to so many young people can be maintained into the future.
John Dracup - Trustee
have lived at Broadaford, the neighbouring farm to East Shallowford, since I was six months old, and knew Elizabeth Braund and Rosemary Bird since their arrival in the mid 1970’s.
I worked on the family farm for 10 years after leaving school, and for the last 25 years have worked off the farm in the red meat industry, whilst maintaining a practical and strategic involvement at Broadaford. My family has always supported Shallowford and I had the good fortune of sharing many conversations with Elizabeth during the later stages of her life, which enabled me to develop an understanding of her vision for Shallowford, and her determination that it should continue beyond her lifetime. As such I was delighted to be asked to become a Trustee in 2015, and hope that my local agricultural experience, combined with a very commercial day job, will bring an objective view combined with a very specific dynamic to the trust.
Will Dracup – Farm Manager
I have lived at Broadaford all my life, and after completing my education at Widecombe Primary School and South Dartmoor Community College, I studied an Agriculture Apprenticeship at Bicton Agricultural College. I have now worked on the family farm for 7 years where I am constantly striving to improve our technical efficiency through enhanced grassland management and livestock genetics, whilst further developing the management of our species rich wetlands. I have participated in the South West Healthy Livestock Initiative, sit on the steering group of the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project, and am involved with Widecombe Fair.
When not farming I am a very enthusiastic Young Farmer. I am currently a County Officer for Devon YFC, and for the last 4 years I have organised a group of about 70 Devon Young Farmers to share my other passion of skiing.
I feel that Shallowford has so much to offer in demonstrating where food originates from and how it is produced, and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with the visiting groups.