Bronwen & Martin Gundry
Blackdown Hills AONB
A 38 acre farm with a variety of habitats, including unimproved pastures and hay meadows
Twenty-five years ago, Martin and I took over the 38 acres family farm nestled in the AONB of the Blackdown Hills. More recently we have taken a more active approach including starting a five-year mid-term Lowland Wildlife Offer in 2023.
Our land is a mosaic of various habitats; old pasture fields, grazed by sheep (never ploughed or fertilised); an old forty-year meadow hayfield; three small woods; and some wilding areas including a flood plane by the river Yarty.
Although we have plenty of trees, a lot of them are large, old and/or affected by Ash dieback disease, so we decided to plant more native trees. Some in a five-acre hilly pasture field mainly in small groups to create a wood pasture and others by the field hedges.
I am also turning one of the old grazing pasture fields into a second meadow hay field, using seeds from the neighbouring hay field to help get it started.
Our latest excitements in 2023 is the arrival of a pair of barn owls, which are raising four chicks, and the spotting of two water voles on the river bank.
As we are still feeling our way of how best to manage things, we are always interested to hear how other people manage their land.
Other "Me and my Meadow" stories
Near Cotehele, Cornwall
A wildlife haven in the Tamar Valley with traditional hay meadows, orchards and woodland
A Dartmoor farm’s focus on improving soil health, sequestering carbon and ensuring its future
Dousland, near Yelverton
Establishing patches of meadow and other habitats in a garden in west Devon brings in the wildlife
A labour of love: The restoration of a previously unmanaged flood plain meadow.