About the Farm

Ashcroft farm extends to an area of 77ha located to the west of Woolfardisworthy (Woolsery) village in North Devon. It is currently run by brother and sister, Bob and Vicki Meeson, who’s parents, Kenrick and Jo, purchased the farm in 1961.

Kenrick and Jo arrived with a small herd of Jersey cows. Always forward thinking with their farming, they were amongst the first in the area to make silage instead of hay and to milk through a herringbone parlour. The Lindsay Jersey herd prospered and grew, ranking in the 1980’s and 1990’s in the top 5% of Jersey production herds in the country. Cattle were exported to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Italy and for the charity Send A Cow, to Uganda. Due to family illness and the decline in the milk price, in 2004 the difficult decision was made to sell the dairy herd.

The commercial interest in the farm then centered on expanding the existing free range poultry enterprise, producing free range meat chickens.

Ashcroft achieved Higher Level Stewardship status in 2010. This gave us the opportunity to increase and improve wildlife habitat on our farm.

We run approximately 50 head of Ruby Red Devon Cattle, comprising a single suckle main herd plus youngstock. These cattle are reared on an extensive system to produce high quality beef. Housed in the winter and fed on home produced haylage. In summer these cattle contribute to the HLS by grazing the conservation areas.

Ashcroft also has a small campsite offering a rural break in a beautiful location.

The grassland was previously intensively managed to support a large dairy herd. Now, although not organic, it is managed without the use of artificial fertilizer as poultry manure is available. The grassland produces quality hay and haylage suitable for horses and cattle.

In addition to the productive grassland, Ashcroft also has several acres of classic culm grassland and less commercial ground that is in the process of being restored to culm measure.

We have also planted trees and rebuilt traditional banks and hedges taken out in the 1970’s. This involved a fascinating look back, through the history of farming and land use on our farm many years before our family moved here.