Farm Conservation

You are welcome to spend some time on the farm.  We operate as an organically managed smallholding  very much reflecting the ethos and animal welfare standards you’ll be familiar with through famous names such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his River Cottage series.

Presently, we care for a flock of Lleyn sheep, three bullocks, horses, geese, chickens, ducks, ferrets and three Tamworth pigs.  It’s a lovely place to observe the wonders of nature and a favourite with children from 1 to 101!  We also have our own free range eggs for sale – you really won’t find any fresher to go with your breakfast or to make a lunchtime omelette.

 

What have we done at the farm?


 

Devon bank restoration

We have restored the medieval small field system by rebuilding 200m of Devon bank and sub-dividing one large field into five smaller fields.
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Apples & pears

Reinstating four Tamar Valley Apple and Pear Orchards
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Cherry-lined avenue

Restored 200m of cherry-lined avenue, which was present in the 1880s and is recorded on old maps of the farm.

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Aside from the chickens and usual resident livestock, we also benefit from a range of animals in and around the farm including bats and birds.

Bats

Pipistrelle BatWe have four types of bat at the farm: Pipistrelle, Natterer’s, Brown Long Eared and Lesser Horseshoe. The Pipistrelle is the smallest and most common and they roost and breed at the farm. The Pipistrelle emerges first, about one hour before sunset. We are able to lend a bat detector to guests and using this, the Pipistrelle’s call can be found peaking at about 55khz. A series of clicks turns into wetter slaps towards the bottom of the frequency range. However their social call is emitted between20-30 khz and is heard as a ‘chonk’. It can be heard by some adults and children. Baby Pipistrelle can be seen under the hanging slates waiting for their mother to return in June and July.

 

Natterers BatSharing one of the Pipistrelle’s roosts is the Natterer’s bat which, although larger and with a pale chest, is difficult to distinguish from the Pipistrelle in flight. Sharing another of the Pipistrelle’s winter roosts is a winter Wren roost. Wrens can be seen alighting on teh end of the barn and then creeping up under the slate hanging to shelter and keep warm.

The Brown Long Eared bat is a medium sized bat and roosts in the roof space of the barn. It emerges slightly later than the Pipistrelle and, at dusk, can be tempted to chase a pebble, gently tossed into the air above one’s head. The Brown Long Eared bat’s echo location call ranges from 25-50khz and peaks at 35-40khz. On the bat detector, the calls are very quiet and are heard as a series of clicks, rather like those produced by a Geiger counter.
Lesser Horseshoe BatThe Lesser Horseshoe bat is one of our smallest British species. It is about the size of a plum and can be seen hanging in the chimney space of the barn. They are the last bats to emerge and can be seen in the small courtyard behind the cottage about half an hour after sunset, when it is quite dark. Their call is to be heard around 110 kHz with a series a warbles which sound like the ‘Clangers’. Their noise is haunting, melodious and quite unforgettable.

Whilst restoring the barn, we took into consideration the preservation of the bats, and also, wrens and swallows. We also have sparrow populations which cohabit our property. We have created a space beneath the ridge tile of the roof for bat roosts. The slate hanging placard and fascia boards were constructed to enable birds and bats to roost and nest.

Long-eared batThe attic of the barn was thoroughly sealed and insulated at its base but opens through a small slit in the front of the barn, to enable Brown Long Eared bats to fly in. An old fashioned roof lining material was used under the slates, so that the bats could cling to it easily. In the winter, wrens use one part of the slate hung fascia to roost and keep warm and in the summer the same area has a maternal Pipistrelle colony. Brown Long Eared bats, Pipistrelle and Lesser Horseshoe bats have winter maternal roosts and hunting perches within the barn and its chimney. One area of slate hanging has Pipistrelle bats and a colony of house sparrows. A small room is left permanently open for Lesser Horseshoe Bats and swallows.

 

 

Birds

After two Ornithologists staying at the farm, we were presented with a list of various birds which had been spotted throughout their stay. These included:

Hobby
Peregrine Falcon
Sparrow Hawk
Buzzard
Swallow
House Martin
Swift
Jackdaw
Raven
Magpie
Rook
Common Crow
Jay
Pheasant
Wood Pigeon
Stock Dove
Collard Dove
House Sparrow
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Goldfinch
Greenfinch
Chaffinch
Bullfinch
Pied Wagtail
Nuthatch
Treecreeper
Whitethroat
Blackcap
Chiffchaff
Willow Warbler
Herring Gull
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Black Headed Gull
Spotted Fly catcher
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Tawny Owl
Yellow Hammer
Robin
Dunnock
Wren
BlackBird
Song Thrush
Long Tailed Tit
Goldcrest

Some images of swallows around Newton Farm:

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Soil AssociationWe are proud to be able to bear the Soil Association mark which demonstrates that we meet their high organic standards.  Soil Association Certification Ltd is the UK’s largest organic certification body, responsible for certifying over 80% of all organic products sold in the country.  To find out more about the Soil Association and what the standards are, visit the SA Certification website.