Feeding the pigs, helping a sheep when lambing, walking across the most beautiful moorland, sheltering from a blizzard, making a trip to the Devon Coast – how many children in inner cities have experienced these? Our vision is about making the difference to young people’s lives by sharing with them the reality of a Dartmoor Farm. To provide a safe and caring environment where they can explore their personal boundaries.
We aim to be a residential resource for many different types of groups – youth groups such as Providence House (our partner Trust in Battersea), school age groups, children with special needs, young people who are looking to re-orientate their lives. Connecting people with where their food comes from and the importance of the natural environment; the world of butterflies and orchids on the banks of the West Webburn, and not in a hot-house in a city. Getting muddy boots, rising early in the morning to let the chickens out and collect the eggs, helping to mend a broken gate, moving the sheep from one field to another. But above all allowing the sense of God’s wonderful creation to inspire them.
And all this in the beauty and peace of Dartmoor, where there is no mobile signal, no cinemas, no traffic jams, just the flight of the dipper as he flies up the West Webburn, lands on a rock and starts dipping his head, as the buzzards and ravens call overhead.
Forty years ago Elizabeth Braund, with amazing foresight, had this vision and put it into action. In her memory the Trust is now committed to expand and advance the work she started, by giving children and young people an experience they will never forget. Already the grandchildren of those who came in the early days are coming to Shallowford. We hope that for many generations to come people will come here and find an experience that really makes the difference.