A care farm near Ottery St Mary has been celebrated for its therapeutic care for individuals with special needs.

Luke and Emily Knight of Knights Farm have won the 2019 Devon Farm Diversification award, sponsored by the Western Counties Agricultural Valuers’ Association.

Luke and Emily run a mixed livestock farm comprising 120 acres of rented land supplemented by approximately 80 acres of grass keep. The farm is stocked with South Devon cattle, Lleyn sheep and rare breed outdoor pigs.

What makes the farm different is its use as a facility providing therapeutic care services for individuals with special and social needs incorporating mental health, brain injuries and youth offenders. Local schools also use the facility for pupils having special education needs. The farm offers a programme of supervised practical agricultural activities which seem to foster a sense of purpose and responsibility in its clients.

In addition, the Knights run a very successful small farm shop selling farm produce directly to the local community. The shop makes great use of social media selling produce made in the farmhouse, alongside vegetables and meat grown and reared on the farm. The shop also sells produce from the local area.

What particularly impressed the judges is the professional and proactive approach adopted by Luke and Emily, which has allowed them to enhance income from a relatively straightforward beef and sheep farm.