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, many changes have evolved since arriving from the borders of Cornwall. The farm is now run by Paul, his wife Carolyn & son Reuben now 11. Paul’s mother Gillian runs the cottages & helps where needed, a Gill of trades! Keeping 450 ewes which we lamb in early March, we also keep beef cattle. We have a thoroughbred brood mare foaling in spring. Free Range chicken were 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. July is usually the month for this. 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 a family pony Pippin.
We have always farmed to enhance the environment latterly 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. ( Apologies this may be restricted due to COVID-19) Children often enjoy seeing the animals, but equally they need not be encountered as the properties are distanced away from the working 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 2019, 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, grey wagtails, kingfishers 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 almost 60yrs, 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. (Sorry not during 2020/21.) We can stock the fridge for you if requested. We even have regular guests, now friends, coming back after over 40 years.
Ring to see what we can offer you.