Westermill Farm / The Farm
Westermill is a working farm of 500 acres (200 hectares) ring fenced
and unique to the UK as we do not border a road.The Edwards family
have farmed here at Westermill since 1938,and have been here on
Exmoor for many generations before.
The Farm is split between grass fields and rough grazing ground and with no arable. We have Less Favoured Area Status and are in the Environmentally Sensitive Area of Exmoor. There are 4 Somerset Wildlife Sites on the farm, so we try very hard to farm with the environment in mind not against it, but to maintain this it does need a helping hand.
About 85 suckler cows are kept on the farm. The breed is Aberdeen Angus. They range from cows and calves to bullocks of about twelve to thirty months and of course the bulls. This year we are putting 85 cows and heifers (female that have not had a calf) to the 4 bulls. We are a closed herd, that means we breed are own replacement heifers and bulls. So we have to work out which bull goes to which cow or heifer, so we have to make sure we do not put father on daughter etc.
.We have bought the last 3 bulls from the famous Almsworthy herd up here on Exmoor, owned by Ginny Fiennes wife of the world famous explorer Ran. We calve in March/April in the sheds at the top of the farm and then turn the cows and calves out late April. The yearling bullocks (last year's calves) all summer graze out in Exe Cleave with the ewe hogs. All the steers (castrated males) are finished here at 29 mths and go on contract to Waitrose on their Premium Beef scheme. These are finished on grass and rolled oats and nothing else, so as to be as natural and kindly reared as possible.
There are approximately 300 breeding sheep, these are mainly South Country Cheviot, lambing at Easter. We cross most of these with Teeswater and Texel rams. The others to Cheviot rams to breed replacements. Most of the lambs go for meat, some of which we sell in the farm shop for your BBQ or to take home to put in the freezer for later. We also take in ewe hoggs ( female sheep 12-18 mths old) in the summer from a friend. So there could be over 1000 sheep on Westermill in the summer.