|Location:||Taunton, Somerset, UK|
The Warmington family have been stewarding Cothelstone Estate since 1792, and all those years of his family’s farming experience and expertise show in Hugh’s farming practices who no stewards the grounds.
Focusing on Aberdeen Angus suckler cows, he calves them indoors between February and April. After feasting on grass all summer, the cattle are housed in early November, in straw bedded yards, and fed hay and a little silage. The calves are weaned after Christmas at about ten months old in the same building, causing minimal stress and maximum relaxation.
Running from the deep red soils of Taunton Vale at 200ft to a heathland Site of Special Scientific Interest at 1,200 ft above sea level, the farm was converted to organic production in 2008. With summer rainfall unreliable, the grassy slopes of Hugh’s estate are particularly unique among his neighbouring fields which are all prone to burning up. This is due to the naturally low organic matter and clay content of the hills in the area which do not retain moisture well. However, the grass ley seed mixtures that Hugh has specially chosen and refined over years — made up of red clover, chicory and cocksfootare — are deep rooted and drought tolerant, giving Hugh his incredibly impressive green, green hills.
The estate was entered into Higher Level Stewardship and Organic Entry Level in 2006. A significant area is unimproved pasture, either too steep to plough or ancient parkland, with considerable landscape value. Standing in awe in the middle of Hugh’s fields it makes perfect sense that the Quantock Hills were the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be designated in England.