About Hele Barton Farm Holiday Cottages - Working Family Farm in Devon Since 1929
Overview & Online Booking
This Westcountry family have farmed here traditionally since 1929, now into the 5th generation of Gillbards since arriving from the borders of Cornwall. The farm is now run by Paul, his wife Carolyn & son Reuben 8. Paul’s mother Gillian runs the cottages & helps where needed. Keeping 450 ewes which we lamb in early March, we also have a small herd of pedigree Devon cattle. We also have thoroughbred brood mares who foal in spring. Free Range chicken are a new venture for 2015 with a 2nd house in 2017. Cereals and root crops are grown to feed to the animals together with hay and silage. Any surplus we sell locally. Wheat reed is grown for thatching and this is a spectacularly old fashioned sight to see when harvested. It requires vintage equipment to binder the reed and ‘stooks’ can be seen standing in the fields for several days in the summer. It is said these should stand to hear the Church bells ring twice. We also have 2 family ponies, Pippin & Hastie.
We are farming to enhance the environment within the stewardship schemes of ELS & HLS which helps to create and maintain habitats for wildlife and encourage flower and fauna around the farm. Putting back an orchard and a wood are two projects. We offer you a guided tour of the farm to explain various aspects of the farm business. Children often enjoy seeing the animals, but equally they need not be encountered as the properties are distanced away from the farmyard.
There is an abundance of birds and wildlife to see. We regularly see barn owls and have 2 nest boxes both with 4 chicks in this year, also little owls, buzzards and pheasants. Skylarks are a regular sight and sound. Swallows, house martins and swifts return each year to nest around the farmyard and we have a large population of sparrows who love our thatched roof! As the light fades bats put in their appearance and the night sky is something to behold without light pollution. Dormice have been found on the farm as well.
Much can be seen or heard from the garden but a walk around the farm will reveal even more. A stroll along the riverbank may enable you to see duck, moorhens, heron and occasionally a kingfisher or an otter. We often see rabbits, hares, foxes, badgers and deer (roe & red) and butterflies and moths are numerous as well as the many wildflowers. See how many you can identify.
We have been offering accommodation to guests for over 55yrs, initially in our beautiful thatched farmhouse where BB&EM was order of the day. As life within the family has changed we now offer S/C with breakfast if required. Ring to see what we can offer you.