Farmer: Hugh Warmington

Location: Taunton, Somerset, UK Breed: Aberdeen Angus

The Farmer

The Warmington family have been stewarding Cothelstone Estate since 1792. All the years of the family’s farming experience and expertise show in Hugh’s farming practices, who is now responsible for stewarding the grounds.

Hugh's focus is on rearing Aberdeen Angus suckler cows. They are calved indoors between February and April, before being let out to feast on grass all summer. In early November, they are housed in straw bedded yards, and fed hay and a little silage. After Christmas, the calves are weaned at around ten months old in the same building, with minimal stress and maximum relaxation.

The Farm

The farm runs the whole way from the deep red soils of Taunton Vale at 200ft, right up to a heathland sitting at 1,200 ft above sea level, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The farm transitioned to organic production in 2008. The grassy slopes of Hugh’s estate are particularly unique among his neighbouring fields which are all prone to burning up. This is due, not only to the summer rainfall being unreliable, but also 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 that Hugh has specially chosen and refined over years (made up of red clover, chicory and cocksfootare) is deep-rooted and drought-tolerant, giving Hugh his incredibly impressive green, green hills.

The estate was entered into Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) and Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS) in 2006. A significant area is unimproved pasture, either too steep to plough or ancient parkland with considerable landscape value. Standing in awe from the middle of Hugh’s fields, it makes perfect sense that the Quantock Hills were the first place in England to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.