top of page

Our Work

We work with many organisations to help wildlife on our farms to thrive; we welcome people visiting our farms, and being a curious bunch, have collaborated with academics and others to experiment, learn and improve how we farm.  


Find out more below.


Work to help wildlife thrive on our farms

Marsh Frit.jpeg

Conserving the Marsh Fritillary

The rare Marsh Fritillary is found on all our farms, and the desire to conserve it was the catalyst that brought us together. With advice from Butterfly Conservation and others, we manage the grazing of its habitat, rhos pasture, to create a mosaic of different vegetation heights and densities.

With annual monitoring of our butterfly populations, we’ve got quite competitive about who has got the most, with definite bragging rights for the farm who wins our butterfly cup each year.  

Growing wildflower plug plants

The caterpillars of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly feed almost exclusively on Devil’s Bit Scabious. To spread its distribution, volunteers from Shallowford Farm have propagated and then planted 20,000 plugs grown from seed harvested on our farms.

DB Scabious planting_edited.jpg
seed harvesting.png

Seed Harvesting

We’ve some fantastic hay meadows and areas of heather moorland, so working with the Devon Wildlife Trust and Dartmoor National Park we’ve used a brush harvesters towed by a quad bike to collect  heather and wild flower seed.


This seed has then been used for habitat creation and improvement projects on our farms and elsewhere.

Rewetting and Natural Flood Management:

We’ve worked with the Upstream Thinking Project and the National Park’s Natural Flood Management folk on various projects to ‘slow the flow’. The bogs and ponds created are not only great for wildlife, they also reduce the risk of downstream flooding and the amount of sediment running into the streams.

Wetland creation.png


We consider ourselves to be very lucky to live and work in such a beautiful area, and so are happy to share it with the public. Below are examples of work we’ve done to help visitors get the most out their visit, learn about the Moor and how they can minimise their impact on wildlife and farming.

path improvements.jpg

Path improvements

We’ve secured funding from the Farming and Protected Landscapes Fund to improve the signing, surfacing and gates on several miles of path running across our farms to make them easier to use and follow.


The example in the photograph is at Soussons Farm, where a awkward set of stepping stones have been replaced with a granite causeway, whilst also making a small pond which has become a haven for dragonflies.

Shallowford Farm Trust

Since 1976, Shallowford Farm has been bringing young people from Battersea and other urban communities to Dartmoor, giving them the chance to experience Dartmoor, farming, landscape and nature  through tactile experiences.


As a key member of our Cluster, they are taking the lead on our work with volunteers and to reach a much wider and diverse audience than we could otherwise.


Farm to City

Led by one of our members, Shallowford Farm, we took a selection of farm animals and displays about Dartmoor up to Battersea in London.


Over the week, well over 1,500 children, many of which hadn’t seen sheep or cows before, met the animals and took part in the various activities to show them more about life on Dartmoor.

Walks and talks

We regularly have farm walks and talks, either organised by ourselves or in partnership with other organisations.

We've also hosted numerous workshops and training events for volunteers and the community, working alongside conservation organisations including; The Eden Project, Butterfly Conservation, Moor Trees, Dartmoor National Park Authority, Devon Wildlife Trust, and Devon Moth Group. These covered topics such as: wildflower propagation, undertaking butterfly and harvest mouse surveys, moth and bat nights, winter tree and wildflower id.

IMG_20230428_150731 (1).jpg

Managing dogs

To reduce the number of sheep and lamb that are lost due to uncontrolled dogs, we have installed new signs to alert walkers of sheep in the fields crossed by two very well used footpaths.  


Alongside this, every Thursday through the summer, two of our members hold working sheepdog demonstrations on their farm at Postbridge so that visitors and locals can learn more about hill farming and to encourage responsible dog ownership.

Working with the Dartmoor Hill Farm project they also run sheepdog handling courses, to train the next generation of sheep farmers how to train their dogs.


We are curious, and so we are opening to trying out new ideas, take part in research and share knowledge and ideas.

Trialling herbal leys

With support from SWW Upstream Thinking projects we are trialling how to can convert grassland fields to herbal leys. Standard mixes prescribed by Countryside Stewardship don’t survive on Dartmoor. So, we’ve been trying out different seed mixes and establishment techniques such as a min-till direct drilling to minimise damage to the soils structure and biodiversity. 


As the trial progresses, we’ll be monitoring yields, soil quality, and number of pollinators and then sharing the results with other farmers.

min till seed drill.jpg

Carbon Auditing

We have all completed or are working towards assessing the carbon footprint of our farms using the Farm Carbon Toolkit.


This will provide us with a baseline and help guide us in our aim of reducing to our emissions to go beyond net-zero, whilst still producing food.

A.I. bird monitoring

We helped Chippup to trial their Artificial Intelligence powered acoustic recorders. These small boxes record bird calls over several weeks, and then A.I. is used to analyse the recordings to calculate the number and species of birds present.


Their plans are to use this monitoring as a way of being able to assessing and monitor how different farming practices affect bird populations, and so potentially lead to the development of an auditable ‘bird-friendly’ food label.


GPS Cattle collars

Working with the Dartmoor Hill Farm project we have been exploring the role that invisible fencing systems and GPS trackers can play in livestock grazing on the commons.


The Trackers monitor where animals are spending their time, and the ‘no-fence’ collars can be used to keep animals out of sensitive areas.

bottom of page