Julian Pady and Alison Andrews
Goren Farm, Honiton
Goren Farm has been in the family since 1955 and was farmed as an extensive dairy farm up until 1990. Since then the fields have been set to hay meadows to develop a natural balance with nature
Julian arrived at Goren in 2001 when he was 28; having come from a career in London working in IT and oil exploration. The farm belonged to an old family relative who had been living more or less as a recluse in a couple of rooms of the farmhouse which, although a listed building, was dangerously close to dereliction. Julian decided to live on the 70-acre plot as he wanted to save the house and help his relative, Ken. He enrolled on a horticultural course at Bicton College, so he could use the skills learnt to restore the remains of the formal gardens. But it was the meadows which inspired him most and shaped the future of his family and Goren Farm.
Having been raised in a Devon farming family, Julian spotted the potential of the meadows, having recognised the complexity and variety of plants growing there. He was inspired by the gentle and ‘old-fashioned’ methods of Ken’s farming approach: rejecting modern farm machinery and using traditional tools instead, such as his small blue tractor, sickle, billhook, bowsaw, mattock, and a Devon Shovel. These low-intensity tools didn’t damage the soil and helped native wildlife to flourish.
No chemicals have been used on the farm and no fields have been ploughed in living memory.
Julian realised that there could be a demand for seeds after a neighbour commented on the meadows, and that’s when the wildflower business began. He also managed the hedgerows in a way that allowed wildlife to thrive, provide shelter for the farm animals and give him wood for heating. He brought in a small herd of Ruby Red Devon cattle and flock of Polled Dorset sheep to graze the meadows, which helped to restore the ecological balance in the fields. He uses the same breeds and methods today.
Orchards, and other restoration
Julian restored a walled vegetable garden and also the orchards. He replanted the orchards with new saplings alongside veteran trees, then started to produce cider in the traditional way, filtering the juice through straw. These days, Goren Farm produces apple juice too.
Goren’s water supply originates from a spring line mire and is tapped using a labyrinth of stone drains buried under the fields. Most of the farm buildings date back to 1820 or earlier and have changed little. Careful restoration of these buildings is underway, utilising local materials and traditional methods.
The wildflower meadows are open to the public during the summer period, with events held over the weekends. There are many trails running through the meadows for people to enjoy! Goren collaborates with the National Garden Scheme during June, with all proceeds going to charity.
Goren Farm Festival
The festival promotes wildlife and nature for young people. We offer live music, bars, forest school activities, good local food and camping. Wildflower seed is harvested directly from the ancient meadows from 1st July and sold to private individuals, local community groups and the National Trust.
The farm uses enthusiastic volunteers throughout the year, recruited through the ‘willing workers on organic farms’ scheme, (WWOOF). The aim is to keep working the farm using the traditional methods and share the experience gained with customers and the community alike.
In 2009/10 Goren Farm was given a commendation in Britain’s Most Beautiful Farm Awards at the House of Lords, which they were honoured to receive. This was awarded on merit for conservation, sustainability and profitability in farming.
The farm also has produce for sale:
· Meadow hay – species rich with natural herbage and wild grasses
· Firewood, logs delivered by the load or small orders of bags and kindling wood
· Wildflower seed directly harvested from our ancient meadows
· Ruby Red Devon Beef, Spring lamb-seasonal – boxes, direct from butcher, pre ordered vac-packed, freezer ready
· Cider, apple juice and cider vinegar
· Sawmill work. We can convert trees into useful timber for you
· Sawn, seasoned timber – Ash, Beech, Oak, Maple, Cherry and Elm
· Small pet hay of very fine grasses
· Vegetables and fruit in season
· Rockery stones – various sizes and colours
· Building stones – Flint, various colours and textures
Other "Me and my Meadow" stories
Carrapitt Farm, Bridford
A working farm that has evolved over 40 years into a nature reserve, including turning ten acres of agriculturally improved rough grassland into a species-rich wet meadow.
Blackdown Hills AONB
A 38 acre farm with a variety of habitats, including unimproved pastures and hay meadows
Higher Pudsham, Buckland-in-the-Moor
A former pony and goat paddock is now a wildlife sanctuary.
Bas and Rosemary Payne let the grass grow up in a wild area of their garden and were bountifully rewarded - with many wildflowers, butterflies, slow worms and more.