view of farm from the road

Higher Gawton was farmed by my great grandfather and my grandfather until 1951 when it was sold as my father did not farm. In 1984 a field was purchased and a year later the remaining land was bought making it up to 50 acres.

Higher Gawton Meadows comprises of 50 acres of mainly small enclosures of between 1.5 and 7.5 acres with some reasonable working land and some rocky and hard ground. Being a valley it collects water from all around and can be exceptionally wet in the winter and damage by poaching is hard to avoid. It also has 1.5 acres of woodland which is just a small part of the woodland which surrounds most of the farm and is the shortest distance between the Tavy and Tamar rivers which provides a crossing point for Roe, Fallow and Red deer from the Tamar to the Tavy valley. It is a very quiet location and wildlife sightings of many shy species are frequent and impressive.

Some of the land has a quartz base making these fields extremely hard on machinery with huge rocks just beneath or on the surface, some being 1-2 tons in weight akin to the moorland which is less than a mile to the East. One 7 acre field ( called Rocky Field ) yielded 29 trailer loads of stones before being ready to seed.  In other places it is possible to dig a hole for a gatepost in what appears to be 3 feet of soil and not come across any stones. There are many stone drains, springs and boggy areas and the land is not so prone to summer droughts as most of the adjacent area, the 1.5 acre paddocks can be tiresome at times and very useful at others.  

Having started farming in 1978 by farming 10 acres which once belonged to my maternal grandfather, I gradually rented more land as the opportunity arose. Sometimes adding and sometimes losing land until by 1995 the area farmed was 450 acres and included 5 seperate farms but now it is just 110 acres including some rented land. Having reduced size it is now giving me the opportunity to perform considerable rejuvenation and refurbishment work on the hedges and buildings making my day to day farming much easier.

A horticultural enterprise has recently been started bringing the system of farming more similar to that done by my forebears so many years ago. If the time ever comes when we need to milk the cows again it will have come full circle especially if we return to using horses for transport like my grandfather did to deliver milk to the village by horse and cart selling it by a measured jug into the customers own containers.

What goes around comes around !