IN the current climate it is no surprise that businesses are focusing on the benefits and healing powers of the natural world where they can.

But for one Dorset enterprise, this approach has been at the heart of its philosophy since long before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hollis Mead in West Dorset is an organic dairy farm whose ethos is to produce high quality organic milk and food whilst enhancing the environment for wildlife.

Nature is allowed to take its course and no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or artificial fertilisers are used.

The dairy herd is only milked once a day and pasture-fed only.

The man behind this environment project based on wellbeing and wildlife is Oliver Hemsley. The 57-year-old had a long and successful career in the city before deciding on a complete change just over a year ago.

His farm had been let to a tenant in recent years but he and wife Charlotte decided to take it over themselves and convert it to organic. “You could definitely say I was late to the party but I am not lacking enthusiasm,” said Mr Hemsley.

“That enthusiasm is all about showing that you can run a successful farming business while at the same time making room for wildlife. This is absolutely my passion.”

Oliver added: “My whole ethos is about nature being able to do its thing while we enjoy the benefits of the land and ensure we look after and care for it.”

The extensive pastures are full of wildflowers and 17km (10.5miles) of hedges have been planted in the last 20 years and left to grow naturally, allowing birds and insect life to flourish.

The farm has 200 cattle of which around 75 are currently being milked, producing 1,000 litres day. Some of this goes for sale and the rest is used to rear the calves.

The milk (which costs £1.50 a litre) is distributed through five vending machines in West Dorset (including one at the farm) and Yeovil and Mr Hemsley aims to expand in due course with plans for Bournemouth and Poole.

Plans are well under way to produce a range of other dairy products including organic butter and cheese.

Mr Hemsley wants to build a visitor centre and encourage schoolchildren and others to come and see how the farm works and experience the countryside, see it and touch it.

He said: “I hope they will appreciate just how important the countryside is and how central it is to our wellbeing both as individuals and society as a whole. I have a feeling after everything the world has been going through, they will.”