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Looking for a farm in North Devon? Here's what you need to know

Mon 10 September 2018

Andrew Dodds of Stags Farm Agency looks at what is on offer in this beautiful part of the West Country

Andrew says: Many people are attracted to the idea of buying a farm in North Devon in the first instance for one simple reason: prices here can often be much more affordable than elsewhere in the South West.

Once you look more deeply into what North Devon has to offer, however, you will find there are, in fact, not one but many compelling reasons why this part of the world is such a good place to buy a farm.

The community here has strong agricultural roots and you’ll be sure to find plenty of like-minded people in your local pub keen to discuss the livestock trade or grain prices. Talking of livestock, there is a thriving livestock market at South Molton, conveniently located. The vibrant tradition of agricultural shows in the area means there is plenty of rural socialising through the summer months. What is more, the wider community here is increasingly interested in supporting local food producers. There are farmers’ markets in Barnstaple and South Molton as well as many popular local meat and veg box schemes, successful farm shops and stores offering outlets for local produce.

North Devon is a huge area, the size in itself of many other whole British counties, so you need to pick your location within it carefully. The North Devon Link Road (A361) is, as the name suggests, a vital part of the area’s transport network linking in with Junction 27 of the M5. It provides farming businesses in the region better access to their intended market, whether it be the Muller Wiseman Dairies at Junction 24 of the M5 or cheese producer Parkham Farms to the west near Bideford.

If you are planning on rearing livestock, then the terrain will dictate the sort of farm enterprise that can be successful. A farm high on Exmoor may see snow most winters and so requires extensive rearing of hardy stock; moorland breeds of sheep such as the Exmoor Horn and native beef cattle such as Red Ruby Devons.

North-west Devon is an area where grass grows well and traditionally is home to many dairy farmers, much of whose output goes to the nearby Davidstow creamery where Cathedral City cheddar is produced. In the river valleys of the Taw and Torridge there is some good arable land where the focus is on producing cereal wheat, oats, barley and maize silage.

There is also lots of opportunity to diversify, especially given the popularity of the area with tourists. For example, here at Stags we are selling Lee Manor Farm near the surf resort of Woolacombe, a 60 acre grass farm with three top-quality holiday cottages, providing a healthy income, plus a barn conversion which could be the owner’s home or a further holiday let.

For more information, please contact Andrew Dodds.

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