I was incredibly fortunate to be awarded a bursary by the Alliance of Registered Homoeopaths to allow me to undertake the Homoeopathy at Wellie Level (HAWL) course in early 2019.
My husband and I farm cattle and sheep high on Dartmoor. The farm is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and the farm tenancy has passed down through my side of the family. My parents were strong advocates of ‘modern farming’ and they spent their lives battling natural processes which in turn broke them, unsurprisingly. The farm is about 180 hectares of heather, wet pastures and hay meadows, all this fantastic habitat sits on top of a huge scheduled ancient monument designated for a medieval strip field system, tin mining remains and Bronze Age settlements. As tenants we do not own the land and so our only assets are machinery and livestock.
We are very mindful of the issues of climate change so we try to keep our fossil fuel to the bare minimum. This means that most of our capital is in our livestock so their longevity, health and welfare are of key importance to us. We also operate a closed system so that the only animals we import are breeding rams and bulls to ensure that we reduce the opportunity of bringing in diseases.
The archaeology needs to be kept visible for people to enjoy now and in the future. Sheep are the best tool for this and we farm very hardy Icelandic sheep to nibble around and keep the grass short. The valley bottom is dominated by wetter areas which need cattle, who graze with a ripping action, which creates a mosaic for plants and insects to thrive in.
Our farm is accredited with the Pasture Fed Livestock Association so the animals only eat grass or hay throughout their lives. We are also the first upland farm in the UK to be accredited by the international animal welfare organisation A Greener World.
This combination of high nature value and high welfare farming means that we are very keen on our livestock being in optimal condition, living healthy and vital lives in as sustainable a manner as we can achieve.
We are constantly seeking new ways of improving our farm for people, biodiversity but most importantly our livestock. The chance to attend the HAWL course has been a real turning point for me. The course was run at the Duchy Home Farm at Tetbury, a glorious setting to learn about a subject so close to the Prince’s heart. The animals on the farm are kept extremely well but it was incredibly useful to look at them through the eyes of a very experienced homeopathic practitioner.