A celebration was held at Chubbs Farm, near Axminster, to celebrate Phil Short winning the Devon Bronze Otter award.

Phil won the award in 2018 for the remarkable and innovative conservation work he is undertaking on his farm.

Earlier this month a group of local farmers, friends and colleagues turned out to the farm to congratulate Phil and for the formal presentation of his award.

One guest said “It was a wonderful walk, and sad as ever that there is never time to walk more. I have never been to a farm like it, where a proper working farm feels so well balanced with nature, above and below ground. I always enjoy walking there. It is a great credit to Philip and Bill.”

Phil and Roland Stonex, an FWAG South West farm conservation adviser, lead visitors on a great walk around the farm, talking them through how Phil manages his cows, hedges and small fields.

Chubbs Farm has been run organically for 20 years and in that time they have never ploughed at all. The farm relies on old pastures, with their manures injected directly by themselves. They have four BAP habitats which are species rich pastures and are managed sympathetically and with guidance from natural England.

The farm is comprised of 75 field parcels on approx. 220 acres so has an abundance of species rich hedgerows which are managed on two yearly rotational trimming, providing wildlife corridors with flowery margins. They lay hedges in rotation and leave a proportion to grow up, and successfully run their British Friesian organic dairy herd in harmony with wildlife.

BAP habitats are managed with grazing and cutting at optimum times. They have some on-roof solar panels, a wood biomass burner and run a good borehole for domestic and cattle use.

The award was presented by Roland Stonex and John Whetman, who has been involved with FWAG SouthWest for over 30 years, and is coordinator and head judge of the Devon Bronze Otter annual competition.