http://www.soilassociation.org/visitanorganicfarm/visitanorganicfarm/articleid/1409/summerhill-farm-devon
Summerhill Farm, Devon

Visit an organic farm

Summerhill Farm, Devon

Set in just under 100 acres of beautiful rolling mid Devon countryside, Summerhill is a typical mixed holding and was certified organic in February 2003. The farm belongs to the Soil Association Land Trust, a new charity which holds land in trust for organic and sustainable farming, and is farmed by Ben Moseley under a share farming agreement with the Trust.

Livestock and crops

The farm has a friendly native breed of cattle, ‘Red Rubies’ or North Devons, some of which are pedigree. A pure bred Red Ruby bull ‘Woody’ runs with the cows and the herd is fed on haylage/hay produced on the holding. Oats for winter feed are also grown on the farm. The simple six year rotation consists of four years grass clover broken to winter wheat and in the sixth year, winter oats. New additions to the farm are some 200 laying hens, ‘Ben’s hens’, producing award winning eggs, a new polytunnel for seedling raising for vegetable growing and some beautiful Christmas geese.

Conservation and wildlife

The farm is surrounded by ancient woodland and has been surveyed for wild flora and fauna. Local volunteers walk a butterfly transect in the spring and summer months, recording their findings for the Butterfly Conservation. Strong hedges form dense wildlife corridors and some areas near to the woodland are deliberately set aside to encourage wildlife. The River Yeo runs through the farm and a plan is in development for its management and the encouragement of related wildlife such as otters.

Restored orchard

Newly planted trees in a field called Young Orchard, which was last an orchard in the 1920s, range from traditional English and West Country varieties to some rarer examples. The orchard is maintained by volunteers who share in the apple harvest in return for their work.

Education and open days 

There is an office for the Land Trust on the farm as well as a classroom for visiting school parties and groups. A photovoltaic and solar thermal system has recently been installed on the roof of the classroom, allowing us to produce our own electricity with hot water and to sell any surplus electricity back to the grid.  

Arranging a visit   

We welcome school groups and interested parties. You can walk the farm trail and guided tours are also available by prior arrangement. Throughout the year, we hold open days and volunteer working days.  

Contact details