We are pleased to announce that the Somerset Otter winners for 2022 are Nick and Claire Bragg, Frogmary Green Farm. The award highlights the long term commitment to sustainable farming and wildlife conservation by the farmer.

After very careful consideration, our judges Gary Rumbold, FWAG SouthWest CEO, John Gilbert, Somerset Farmer and Zara Blackmore, Assistant Farm Environment Adviser, scored Nick and Claire the winners. This year proved tough to judge! Some wording from Gary below...


Nick and Claire Bragg – Frogmary Green Farm -  Winners

Nick and Claire have considerably changed their business model in recent years, moving from a farming system that produced root vegetable crops and poultry under contract to major suppliers to supermarkets, to one which predominantly, but not exclusively, produces fuel crops that are used in the on-site Anaerobic Digester (AD) plant. It is fair to say that this model challenged the judges perception of a more traditional farming-for-food system but as Nick rightly pointed out, “this is still farming.” Nick explained that one of the reasons that they had stopped producing food to the extent they previously had, was the large percentage of products that were rejected by the supermarkets for not being cosmetically in line with their procurement policies, which in itself caused a large amount of waste for them – in some years over 50% of their produce.

Growing areas have good margins, which although were looking a little tired after the droughts of 2022  still demonstrated good wildlife habitat characteristics and would undoubtedly look much better when in full bloom, as at least one of the judges had seen on a previous visit.

The one watercourse on the farm, a tributary of the River Parrett is protected by 5m+ margins and no-spray buffer zones. Farm workers are provided with maps of environmental features / habitats when working.

The poultry business is now rented to another local poultry keeper but the waste from the poultry is also used as fuel stock  for the AD plant and the onsite heat and power generation is used by the producer to heat and power the poultry houses.

Frogmary Green Farm have impressively diversified their on-site business, which now incorporates an up-market café / deli, a spa & beauty treatment area, a hair stylist, a wedding venue, dog training facilities and a flower shop, all done to the Bragg’s usual very high standards. It was amusing to note that Nick and Claire now have to problem solve a wide range of daily issues, from hair product supplies to getting the ratio of feedstock for the AD plant correct under their energy contract – a far cry from most agricultural beginnings! As well as onsite businesses they also provide accommodation for a number of their 50 strong workforce.

Of course, all of these new business enterprises have an energy requirement and Frogmary Green have excelled in providing power for their site, being 95% self-sufficient in power through the use of a combine Heat and Power plant powered from the AD plant and two wood chip boilers. The level of renewable energy use on-site, as well as the provision for some 12,000 homes from the AD plant is truly impressive. As well as the primary crops mentioned above, Frogmary Green feed their AD plant with about 60% waste from local sources. Nick and Clare are very open about their business venture and admit that all of this waste requires transportation and storage and that in some cases these waste products are arguably diverted away from other uses, however the judges felt that they had worked hard to make the process have as low an environmental impact, as possible. Local woodchip sourcing has become more difficult for the Bragg’s but this now comes from Ottery St Mary and is certified to FSC standards.

Situated on fine, silty soils, Frogmary Green is susceptible to erosion and run-off, a problem that Nick has been keen to address. Nick has undertaken a Sainsbury’s funded soil scholarship programme and has worked with Jo Oborn of FWAG South West to help with their run-off issues. Nick is committed to improving the Soil Organic Matter (SOM) content of his soils and reports a reduction in run-off in recent years due to the measures he has employed, which the judges welcomed. SOM is slowly increasing but this is a challenging improvement to make. 

Local and wider public engagement at Frogmary Green is at a level rarely seen on a working farm. Nick and Clare have given over a large area of their land solely to wildlife and free public access, with two large and impressive ponds, which now have a healthy carp population which has colonised naturally, providing  an excellent wildlife haven, as well as a great public amenity. The judges were very impressed with the education facilities built by the Bragg’s on site, which they have generously provided to the local school for use since the COVID pandemic, as well as it being used for holiday kids clubs. As well as providing wildlife areas, the judges were shown around a delightful kitchen garden where the Bragg’s were growing flowers and fresh produce to be sold and used on site. In addition there were areas put aside for growing sunflowers, a large wild flower meadow (resown annually), and pumpkin growing for pumpkin carving days in the autumn. It is hard to imagine how the Bragg’s could do more to utilise their land as a public amenity, albeit with an eye to helping them with their commercial operations, such as the café. There was also a milk and dairy product vending machine on-site, selling local organic produce from trusted suppliers.

The Bragg’s are a significant local employer, employing over 50 people on a full and part-time basis as well as providing work for a Ukrainian refugee family. Staff undergo training and there are clearly opportunities across the farm business for staff development.

Future plans for the business include building a small “hotel” on site to compliment the wedding venue, and as the Braggs are not in an agri-environment scheme currently, they are considering the Sustainable Farm Incentive as an additional income stream for the farm.

Being a relatively new farm, Frogmary Green does not boast a selection of traditional farm buildings, however Nick and Claire have utilised existing farm building space for their new business ventures, with high quality conversions appropriate for the businesses, incorporating under floor heating supplied by the onsite energy production facilities.




James Pullen – Perrins Hill Farm – Runner Up

Perrins Hill, In contrast to the winners is a more traditional farm, mainly producing combinable cereal crops, cider apples for Thatchers and potatoes. The worked land borders much of the Montacute estate and is under Red Tractor and LEAF standards. There is currently no agri-environment scheme on the property but James is considering putting land into the Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI). Future plans also include additional tree planting, rainwater harvesting from farm buildings and the installation of a wind-turbine.

Although there is currently no renewable energy provision on site, Perrins Hill farm boasts several large irrigation ponds that provide good habitats for wildlife as well as a sustainable water supply for irrigating crops. Additionally James is assisting with local flood alleviation through the controlled use of sluices on the farm to prevent flooding downstream, in conjunction with a local flood warden, which was initiated under the Hills to Levels Project

Perrins Hill farm boasts several traditional farm buildings which James and his family have restored to provide good quality accommodation which is rented out on long-term lets. These building would probably have been lost otherwise due to their dilapidated state prior to conversion and they now provide an additional , diversified income for the farm business.

James has clearly worked hard to replace hedges under previous agri-environment schemes, as well as laying hedges at his own cost and has undertaken a significant amount of yard-work under Catchment Sensitive Farming grants to reduce agricultural pollution from those areas. James has also retained some areas on marginal land for wild bird seed cover / mixes, has a now derelict dew pond in an area of woodland that he would like to restore and several field corners that are providing habitat for wildlife

Waste on the farm appears to be minimal, particularly on the cider apple production and there were arrangements in place with local livestock farmers to bring high quality, dry, organic matter back on to the Perrins Hill to increase fertility.

Also on site is a an important historic feature, Lufton Roman Villa, which was previously excavated, revealing impressive mosaic floors in keeping with other local mosaics now displayed in Yeovil museum as well as evidence of the old under-floor heating system. James has taken this land out of production to conserve the (now re-covered) villa. In conjunction with the local community James has erected an interpretation board on the footpath adjacent to the site. Engagement with the public is limited but James does have an annual visit from a local Rotary Club to educate them about the farm’s business.

James showed a great deal of passion for his cider apple production and the judges learned a great deal on the day about growing apples at scale. The orchard cropping this year was impressive and the wildlife value of the orchards was noted. In some areas of the farm the orchards were undergrazed by sheep, all of which looked to be in impeccable condition.



A huge thank you too to our judges Gary Rumbold, John Gilbert and Zara Blackmore for your expertise and time in visiting all the entrants this year. The FWAG SW competitions wouldn't be possible without you.

Huge congratulations again to Nick and Claire Bragg. A celebratory farm walk at Frogmary Green Farm will be organised for spring 2023. Keep your eye on our e-news for the invitation early next year!