We moved to Lower Mullacott Farm in 2002 from Martinslade in Wiltshire. The farm had been empty for three years and was completely unmodernised — ready for ‘total renovation’ in the estate agent’s words!
Kate was in full time regular employment, whilst Simon was self employed, working from home and spending every spare minute renovating the house. Both Kate and Simon now work from home. Previous years have seen plumbing, electrics, heating, ceilings, damp proofing, floors etc all installed or replaced. The 2009 project was converting a barn into a 15m swimming pool. Since 2011 the house has been rented out as a 5* holiday home during the summer months. Have a look at the finished renovations at High View Farmhouse (its rental name). It sleeps 12, has a large pool table, hot tub, heated indoor swimming pool and spectacular views.
The land had been equally as neglected as the house, with free ranging bullocks across the whole farm. We have replaced gates, rebuilt walls, fenced woodland and generally tried to manage the land in a sustainable way. There are 110 acres, much too much for our small herd of alpacas, so much of the land is rented out on grass keep, but we also make our own hay from it. We keep our alpacas in the fields nearest to the house so that we can have maximum interaction and pleasure from them.
The farm has had a full bio-security assessment and is managed in accordance with the recommendations. We don’t keep cattle. Visiting alpacas and new arrivals from other farms are always kept in our isolation paddock until we can be sure there is no infection risk.
We like to keep in contact with people buying alpacas from us and many come back in later years to buy more. Local, smaller herds, come back for annually for shearing (but are not allowed to have contact with our alpacas). The owners enjoy a day of socialising, catching up with local news and meeting the local hand spinners as they buy their fibre, still warm from the shearing. All purchasers are welcome to ring us at any time (even years later) for advice and to talk about their animals.
As well as the alpacas we have two dogs (a St Bernard x Rottweiler and a Mastiff x American Staffie), several farm cats, white doves and various other pets.