East Shallowford Farm is a working hill farm, farming 80 acres in the middle of Dartmoor. East Shallowford Farm is home to 12 Cows, 50 Sheep and 10 Sows. At Shallowford Farm we also try to farm in a sustainable manner so we have a HLS Stewardship Agreement and use our livestock to conservation graze in order to create habitats suitable for wildlife. Shallowford Farm is now managed in conjunction with Broadaford which gives visitor access to another 200 acres as well as another 400 sheep and 40 cows.
Recently East Shallowford Farm has erected a new building which houses the pigs. This shed has been designed with both the animals and visitors in mind, meaning people of all ages and abilities can get involved with the day to day farming. While on the farm you can experience many things (season depending) including:
- Feeding stock
- Weighing Stock
- Machinery Demonstrations
- Conservation work
- Understanding where food comes from
- Many More
These are just a few of the activities that you can get involved with at the farm, all can be linked back to many curriculum topics, especially around STEM Learning.
A window into a week at the farm…
There have been few shadows on our day at the farm. In some ways pure joy. Introducing young people to animals and the greatness of the natural world was once again an enriching thing. The chickens wandering with freedom and without fear, the cockerel strutting his handsome self; the three ducklings living in the protective darkness of a shed; the strident geese sitting hopelessly but hopefully on their eggs and shouting at whoever passes or looks in; the two litters of piglets, twenty in total who wriggle and race, and squeal and hide in noisy joy around and away from their more taciturn mothers. In the same field are two rams, one who has squatted at the farm for several months, and who none of the farmers have reported missing. He came in the autumn, and maybe he will father some lambs for next spring. There is a new puppy in the house, Timber, a flat-coated retriever, adored by all, except less surely by the two cats, now named Lost and Found; Lost because she always hides away from crowds, and Found because he is always reappearing after some adventure, self-composed and assured, and ginger.
Then there are the bigger animals. Penny and Nettie were fetched from the fields to meet the horse dentist and have their overgrown teeth filed down. Later in the day a cow had lost its calf, and a new one bought in to suckle; but mother appeared to reject it. The plan was to bring the young one down in the tractor bucket to feed; but the cow wasn’t happy and the calf escaped capture. So they were both cajoled down to the sheds. The cow was installed in a “crush” while feeding on nuts, and calf put to the teats, hungrily; but still the mother kicked and shrugged off. Give it a couple of days like this, …..
Today was a photography day. Debbie from East Shallowford led the young people out around the farm, and along by the river, and while Debbie led the group to pause and watch with interest nature at work, Andrew encouraged the photography, to capture natural images, animals, interesting shapes. It was a very productive day, which was followed up by endless checking the pictures on the Mac in the farmhouse and selecting the best; so that each person ended up with a collection of prints and preparing pictures for a Providence House display.
In the evening as we looked again at a slide show of pictures, we reflected on the gladness of the natural world, and the delicacy of design and shape.
Walk from Mel Tor along Doctor Blackalls Drive above the Dart valley on a glorious summer’s day with the birds singing, skylarks piping, a flock of gulls flapping above the gorge.