Earlier this month a group of like-minded, local farmers, friends and colleagues turned out to Chubbs Farm, near Axminster to celebrate Phil Short winning the Devon Bronze Otter award in 2018 for the remarkable and innovative conservation work he is undertaking on his farm. Devon’s Bronze Otter Award showcases the long-term commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainable farming shown by many farmers across the county.


Guests gather / The Bronze Otter Trophy


It was a beautiful day and Phil certainly deserved the turn out and praise for all his efforts. One guest said “It was a wonderful walk, and sad as ever that there is never time to walk more. I have never been to farm like it, where a proper working farm feels so well balanced with nature, above and below ground. I always enjoy walking there. It is a great credit to Philip and Bill”

Phil and Roland Stonex, a FWAG SouthWest Farm Conservation Adviser lead us on a great walk around the farm, showing us how he manages his cows, hedges and small fields.


Phil Short leading guests on the Farm Walk


Chubbs Farm has been run organically for 20years in that time they have never ploughed at all, they rely on old pastures with their manures injected directly by themselves. They have four BAP habitats which are species rich pastures and are managed sympathetically and with guidance from natural England. Their farm is comprised of 75 field parcels on approx. 220 acres so they have an abundance of species rich hedgerows which are managed on two yearly rotational trimming, providing wildlife corridors with flowery margins. They lay hedges in rotation and leave a proportion to grow up, they successfully run their British Friesian organic dairy herd in harmony with wildlife. BAP habitats are managed with grazing and cutting at optimum times and they are proud of how precious and great they are. They have some on roof solar panels, wood biomass burner and run a good borehole for domestic and cattle use.

It was a pleasure to be able to photograph four generations of the family – a real legacy.


John Whetman, Head Bronze Otter Judge, presenting the award to Phil Short / Four generations of Shorts


The award was presented by Roland Stonex and John Whetman, who has been involved with FWAG SouthWest for over 30 years, and is coordinator and head judge of the Devon Bronze Otter annual competition.


A furry guests! / A wild visitor on the walk!