Devon County Council Farms Estates starter couple appointed new tenants of Stantyway Farm

Sam and Nell Walker and family

Posted on: 12 September 2017

Devon County Council Farms Estate tenants, Sam and Nell Walker, have been successfully chosen to take on a farm more than twice the size, on the Clinton Devon Estate.

Sam and Nell have been tenant farmers on Devon County Council’s North Ground Farm, a 113-acre starter farm at Milton Abbot, near Tavistock, for nearly four years.

Through hard work and dedication they’ve developed their business, demonstrating a commitment that has led Clinton Devon Estates to offer them tenancy of their 264-acre arable organic farm, Stantyway Farm, in Otterton.

“It demonstrates the value of our Farms Estate in providing a first opportunity for many people to break into the farming industry, before being able to move on to new opportunities,” said Councillor Caroline Chugg, Devon County Council’s Chairman of the Farms Estate Committee.

Sam Walker is also a part-time agricultural lecturer at Duchy College and is experienced in many different areas of farming. His focus at North Ground farm has been rearing youngstock onto fat cattle, adapting the former dairy farm into a fit-for-purpose beef unit.

He’s also established a herbal grass ley trial field in collaboration with Reading University, hosting many visits from students and the public to the North Ground farm, establishing an Open Farm Sunday event.

Stantyway is Clinton Devon Estates first farm to be let on the open market in 20 years. It had been farmed by the same family for two generations until the previous tenant’s retirement three years ago when it became part of the Estates’ in-hand operations.

Sam said:

“We’re incredibly grateful for this opportunity. Clinton Devon Estates are highly regarded landlords and Stantyway Farm will give us the chance to expand our business in new and exciting ways.

“We’d like to thank Clinton Devon Estates for putting their faith in us, as well as the Devon County Farms Estates for giving us the chance to prove ourselves at North Ground.”

Devon County Council has a farms estate totalling almost 10,000 acres. Its 68 dairy and mixed livestock farms are made up of starter and progression units. They are let with a view to tenants moving on to secure independent livelihoods in due course.

Cllr Caroline Chugg

“We have a very successful Council-owned farms estate for many years now,” says Cllr Chugg, “and while the types of businesses that have operated from our farms have evolved over the years, the principle behind maintaining the estate remains the same – to provide the opportunity for people like Sam and Nell the chance to develop successful businesses, with the intention for them eventually to move on to larger farms.

“My congratulations to Sam and Nell. They have done an excellent job at North Ground Farm and we’re delighted that they’re now able to use the expertise, knowledge and experience they’ve gained to take on this new and exciting opportunity.”

Posted in: Environment