As you are likely aware, at FWAG SW we are keen to highlight the fantastic environmental conservation that farmers across the region achieve every year on their farms. As a way of celebrating this and seeking out these farms, we hold county competitions. This year was no different with stiff competition across the Cornwall Otter, Devon Bronze Otter and Gloucestershire Silver Pintail!

The FWAG SouthWest competitions capture a snapshot of farming for the environment, wildlife as well as maintaining a successful farm business. They are as much about the soil, the crops and livestock as they are about the attitude and values of the farmer.


Cornwall Otter 2018 Winner

Chris Jones of Woodland Valley Farm, Ladock

The competition was strong with three diverse finalists each with their own considerable strengths. This year’s finalists were Philip and Faith Hambly of Lethytep, Rob, Sandra and Sam Trudgian of Savath Farm and Chris Jones of Woodland Valley Farm.

Chris Jones triumphed in this year’s competition! The judges (INSERT) were really impressed by the huge range of ground-breaking initiatives Chris has taken in agri-environment, biodiversity, soil and water management, renewable energy and more.  The extent of monitoring and recording is exceptional, as is his knowledge of environmental issues and development. Chris will be hosting a Farm Walk in spring 2019, so keep an eye out for the date in the New Year.

Devon Bronze Otter Winner

Philip Short of Chubbs Farm, Axminster

After one for the hardest autumn and winter periods for many years and on top of the uncertainty of Brexit, the three shortlisted farms showed resilience and presented their very different, but still incredibly effective, ways of managing the land. This years finalists were John Perkin of Parsonage Farm, Philip Short of Chubbs Farm, and Glen Bealey and family at Week Farm near Torrington. The panel of judges, Heather Harley from Exmoor National Park Authority, Tom Stratton from the Duchy of Cornwall, John Whetman, Devon farmer and trustee of FWAG and also Paul Cottington from the NFU were given a hard time with the task of judging such different and quality finalists.

Philip Short’s farm has an organic dairy enterprise which the judges felt worked with the land. The varied soils meant that an all grass approach worked best and as a result of careful management provided a number of important wildlife habitats. The closed herd of British Freisians were perfectly suited to the set up and whilst working within the organic regime caused some challenges, it meant the farm was thriving during volatile times. A worthy winner for 2018!


The Regional Barn Owl Award 2018

The Barn Owl Trophy is FWAG SouthWest's regional award. After the County competitions have taken place, each winning farm gets put forward for the Barn Owl award, along with the nominated farms from each county that does not host an award. The Barn Owl trophy is awarded annually to the farm that our judges consider to be the best commercial farm entrant delivering wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability across the South West region.

Our wonderful team of Barn Owl judges, Ruth Kimber, Hugh Warmington and Richard Belding travelled across the region visiting each county finalist in August 2018.

The Barn Owl Finalists for 2018 are: Chris Jones, Woodland Valley Farm (Cornwall), Philip Short, Chubbs Farm (Devon), John Martin, Deverel Farm (Dorset), Richard Butler, East Wick Farm (Wiltshire),and Michael Bentley, Castle Fruit Farm (Gloucestershire).

The Barn Owl Celebration will be kindly hosted by Ashton Hawker of Gardner’s Farm, the Barn Owl winners for 2017. We will have a farm walk of Gardner’s farm, then reconvene at the Hullavington Arms for lunch and the presentation of the 2018 award. The event will be held on Friday 25th January 2019, we would be thrilled for you to come along. You can find the event listed on our events page, take a look now to book on!

A huge thank you to all involved in making our competitions what they are each year; to all our fantastic judges for their time, energy and diligence, to the farmers for your dedication to the future of our farming landscape and to anyone who has helped celebrate with us and raise awareness of the competitions!