Farm, Woodland and Wildlife

Swardicott farm has a lake, grazed meadows, hedgerows and 75 acre woodland, which makes up nearly three quarters of the area of the farm. This provides a sustainable supply of logs for the renewable biomass heating system for the cottage and farm house.

Swardicott Farm

We are proud to have been awarded the Devon Wildlife Trust’s Confidence in the Countryside silver award in recognition of our efforts on environment issues and allowing safe access to the farm wildlife. Please read our environmental policy.

Much of the farm land has joined the South West Forest Project. Trails through the young trees guide guests on a walk right around the farm or allow shorter walks to be followed.

The few remaining farm animals include rare or minority breeds. The shorthorn cows can be watched at milking time and there is usually a calf to feed at the same time. Ducks, geese and chickens live in the orchard right next to the croquet lawn and are always fun to watch and feed.

Woodland and Wildlife

The woodland that is part of the South West Forest project has a way-marked trail right around it and down to the small lake along mown rides. The trees are still young and form an open canopy which provides an ideal hunting ground for birds of prey that live off mice and voles, which love the shelter of the long grass amongst the trees.

The eerie screech of buzzards can frequently be heard as they circle overhead hunting their prey. If you are lucky the ghosting form of a barn owl can be glimpsed at dawn or dusk as it swoops low over the trees.

Part of the farm trail goes through an area of old woodland which we recently finished coppicing in stages to regenerate the woodland and provide hazel stems for local thatchers and hurdle makers. A survey of this woodland in summer 2006 found 22 species which provided evidence that this is ancient woodland, and included evidence of the presence of dormice. This is an endangered species which has declined partly due to the cessation of hazel coppicing. We have adapted our management of the regeneration to help the dormice and put up nest boxes, which are being monitored under licence.