Higher Cheristow has been run by the Heard family since Eric's father moved here in the 1950s. Today the farm is run by Eric and his wife Michelle.
Several years ago Eric started a campsite and plant nursery to bring him some pocket money so that he could play Indoor Shortmat Bowls! Michelle ran a tearoom for 12 years, but gave that up to help Eric more on the farm.
They follow traditional, old-fashioned farming methods minimising their use of artificial fertilisers or herbicides. They work in harmony with nature for the benefit of their livestock, the microbes that live within the soils and to provide a haven for wildlife and insects.
Herbal leys give the cows a smorgasbord of delicious herbs, grasses and legumes.
They love the deep-rooting plants like plantain, chicory and bird's-foot trefoil, which are full of vitamins and minerals keeping them fit and healthy.
Rotationally grazing helps with carbon capture and minimises poaching in wet weather. The fields are divided into one-acre paddocks, separated by temporary electric fences.
Eric visits the cows daily and moves them into the next paddock. They hop and skip and frolic and then eagerly eat their favourite delicacy.
Soils and soil organic matter are monitored to help maintain rainwater absorption leading to clean streams and rivers.
The fields are teaming with earthworms, and the plants are full of insect life.
The hedgerows are cut every 2 or 3 years to help provide shelter and food for wildlife as well as sequestering carbon.
Over 8km of brambles, nettles and weeds are cut by hand from around the electric fences, which protect the hedges from being eaten by the cattle.
This has to be done several times a year. Oh, busy times when the weeds are growing.
For the last couple of years they have been using homeopathic medicine.
As well as using it as a preventative measure such as reducing weaning stress. It is also used in emergency situations such as tooth abscess, summer mastitis or difficult calving.
A wonderful insight into an alternative form of therapy with no known side effects, and certainly has reduced vet bills!
Eric and Michelle are fortunate enough to rent 30 acres at Stoke. It gives them great pleasure to be able to see the sea, take in the breathtaking landscape and have a breather from their very busy working life on the farm.