- Do you want to really know where your food comes from?
- Do you want to have absolute confidence that your food is produced with care and individual attention to each and every animal?
- Do you want to help support native rare breeds?
- Do you wish that we could go back to the old ways of production?
We do – that’s why we started to produce our own succulent rare breed meats and delicious eggs, sell surplus to friends and contacts, and to actively preserve the natural environment on the farm
At South Yeo Farm we believe in doing things the traditional way, with small fields, old vintage tractors, breeds that are just a little bit different and farming in tune with nature. We are passionate about rare breeds and always put the needs of our animals first.
Latest news from the farm
With 93 acres of pasture including 10 acres of native bluebell woodland and a mile of wild fishing on the River Lew, we try to farm in a way that minimises impacts on the environment and aim to reinstate habitats for wildlife wherever possible. We cannot say we are ‘organic’ as we are not certified with a governing body, but we do not use growth promoters, fertilisers or pesticides and only medicate the animals when absolutely necessary.
|Bluebells in spring
||Wild Cuckoo Flower
What’s in a name? – South Yeo Farm East: Rare & Traditional Breeds
Yeo is an old Saxon word, meaning simply "river", "stream", or "water". The farm is located on the south banks of the River Lew, a tributary to Tarka’s River Torridge in Devon – hence ‘South Yeo Farm’. We have used this name as our sheep flock and pig herd prefixes and we keep only native rare and traditional breeds of animals. Oh, and the ‘East’ is because confusingly there is a South Yeo ‘West’ too across the road.
We are Ian and Gillian Dixon, and live and work on the farm along with our ever growing menagerie... The farm has been in the Dixon family for 3 generations and our home, a traditional Devon longhouse, is believed to have been built in the 1600s; around the farmyard are several old cob barns that were once used for milking cows and storing grain. In the 1950’s and 60’s the farm was run as a dairy unit by Ian’s father with brown & white Ayrshire cows producing milk collected in churns from the roadside. In the 1970’s dairying on our scale became unsustainable and the farm switched to raising sheep and beef. When Ian’s father gave up the animals in 1995 the land was let to a local dairy farmer until Ian returned in 2000 and we started to reclaim fields to keep rare breeds of sheep, pigs, cattle, ducks, geese and chicken and to actively manage the land to benefit wildlife and livestock alike. The farm is in Defra’s Environmental Stewardship scheme. We currently have 100+ sheep, 300 or so chicken, a breeding group of pigs and their offspring, and a starter herd of shorthorn cattle.
|South Yeo Farm East from across the valley
What do we produce and sell?
Pedigree Balwen and Shropshire sheep are kept to produce registered breeding stock for onward sale, unregisterable animals for pretty lawn mowers, fattening, fresh or frozen lamb boxes, sheep skin rugs, wool for spinning, felting and knitted goods.
Registered pedigree Large Black pigs are raised for breeding stock or fattening animals for fresh pork and mouth watering crackling, bacon, gammon and delicious real meaty sausages using herbs and garlic from the garden
Rare breeds of poultry are reared to sell for breeding, hatching eggs, and for their colourful free range eating eggs or simply hens for the garden. We add new breeds each year and currently have 27+ to choose from.
Smallholder Training courses have been run now for a number of years to help others gain the confidence to get started; topics range from starting with keeping chicken or sheep, through pond creation, to maintaining your tractor. Vouchers for training courses are available.
Fast growing willow for garden supports, living willow fences, arbours, wind breaks, children’s tunnels and wigwams; and brightly coloured willows for basketry.
Our village: Northlew
Northlew is a small village located near Okehampton in West Devon, and most places in the village have excellent views over Dartmoor. It is relatively isolated and has an attractive main square surrounded by traditional buildings, many of them thatched; just off the square is a pub, the local primary school and two churches.
Historically, Northlew gets its name from the ancient manor of Lew, mentioned in the Doomsday Book, and the River Lew flows by at the bottom of the village. They say ‘the Devil died of a cold in Northlew’ although there are several different stories relating to who the devil may have been, the most common seems to have been an old deer stag that is said to have died in the square. None-the-less, it is often colder here owing to the village’s exposed location on top of a hill.
Click here to visit the Northlew village website.