Dartmoor Herd Visit August 2015

Southern Breeders’ Group

The weather was mainly kind to about 30 members of the Southern Breeders’ Group who gathered from across the Southern area on the 1st August to visit two farms on Dartmoor.

A welcoming cup of tea or coffee awaited those arriving in the morning at the home of John and Selina Hodge whose Park Farm home lies just to the south of the ancient Dartmoor town of Okehampton. The group then boarded a special covered trailer, that John had kindly organised, and proceeded up on to the moor to view the renowned Halstock herd of Belted Galloways. The herd was split into three distinct groups, the highest of which was grazing some distance away on lush moorland pasture nearing 2000 feet above sea level. The scenery and views to the north were stunning. Amidst some squally showers the party then returned to the house where they were treated to a wonderful pasty meal by the Hodges who pulled out all the stops to ensure their guests were fully pampered.

The afternoon was spent visiting the Sherberton herd of Anton and Alison Coaker who live amongst the most idyllic scenery in the heart of Dartmoor on land that Anton’s family have farmed for several generations. After an initial stop to see the farm’s South Devon herd the group then took a ride alongside the beautiful West Dart river before viewing the Coaker’s herd of Belted, Solid and Riggit Galloways - followed by a gentle amble back to the farmyard. The walk was enlivened by entertaining and educational tales from Anton about the history of the farm and the moor.

The day culminated with a Beltie burger barbecue meal in one of the barns provided by Alison Coaker and her able helpers, supplemented with contributions from various SBG members. In all – a very interesting day for all involved with some wonderful cattle and great company. Sincere thanks are due to the Hodge and Coaker families for their generous hospitality, and to SBG secretary Alison Bunning for helping make the event such a success.