Latest News

RABI New Online Mental Wellbeing Service 

RABI has extended its support for farmers with new wellbeing initiative for farmers. 


With 2020 bringing ever greater levels of uncertainty and unexpected changes, pressures on the farming community continue to grow. As part of a new package of services designed to assist people deal with these complex challenges, RABI has launched an online wellbeing community and counselling service for farming people across England. 

The initiative features two distinct sites - Qwell for adults, and Kooth for those aged 11-17. These safe and confidential online platforms are being delivered in partnership with a specialist online mental health provider. The websites include dedicated farmer friendly content that addresses farming sector specific challenges such as loneliness, Brexit anxiety, animal health and crop disease and farm debt. 


Users will be able to anonymously access farmer specific and more generic content, as well as a wealth of discussion boards, case studies and messaging functions. In addition, all users can access one-to-one counselling support from BACP recognised, qualified professionals through a chat function.

For more info, visit RABI's website.

Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme

A reminder that the Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme is currently open. 

The scheme provides funding for farmers to purchase equipment to improve the productivity of their farm. The scheme is different to other parts of the Countryside Productivity scheme as it uses an online application process and provides grants for specific pieces of agricultural equipment. such as EID readers, cattle handling equipment and electronic weigh systems.

The Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme closes at noon on 4 November 2020.

Prince's Farm Resilience Programme - last few places left!

Do you have a family farm on Dartmoor? Would you like to improve your farm business to maximise

profitability and resilience? The Farm Resilience Programme is a series of seven workshops, focusing

on different business skills. Topics include business planning, understanding accounts and budgeting,

and a new environmental workshop which looks at such ideas as 25 year planning. Alongside these

workshops, every farm completes the Business Health Check Tool to look at their strengths and

weaknesses and benchmark costs against similar farms, as well as receiving one-to-one farm

business support. 

Previous participants have found the course really beneficial, with positive feedback:

'Being able to discuss with the other farmers has been a huge benefit as the family realised they weren’t on their own with the concerns and unknown challenges in the future'.

‘Speakers were inspiring, to encourage us to look at the farm as a business and not a way of life’.

‘Not only has this experience been mutually supportive in the community, it has given us real practical tools to help future proof our farming business’.


The first workshop is due to take place in January, and the whole programme is FREE! If you'd like to know more, or reserve a place, please contact us at, or call 01822 890912


DHFP response to the ELM Consultation

You may have seen that DEFRA recently consulted stakeholders on the design of the future Environmental Land Management scheme (ELM) which will replace the current suite of Agri-Environment schemes, and by 2027 the Basic Payment Scheme. Given the significance of the scheme in a post-Brexit landscape, DHFP submitted a response to DEFRA which included comments and suggestions from the Steering Group, which we hope reflect the collective view of farmers on Dartmoor. You can read the response that was submitted by clicking this link to Environmental Land Management Response July 2020.

Dartmoor Food Directory

Within Dartmoor National Park we’re lucky to have a wide range of food and drink producers and retailers. This includes produce straight from the farm gate through to village shops and specialist retailers that source Dartmoor products.

DHFP has produced a Local Food and Drink Map which, under the current restrictions of the COVID-19 outbreak, focusses on businesses who have dedicated retail premises or are able to deliver direct to your home. Given the size of the National Park we would recommend you make contact with the provider before ordering food to ensure you are within their delivery area.

Please note this is a ‘work in progress’. The list has been uploaded without prejudice and with acknowledgement that there are clear gaps. Our hope is to grow and develop the pages over the coming months.

If you are a producer or retailer and would like to be added to the evolving site then please email us with your contact details and we will get in touch.



Chairman's Update - June 2020

Russell Ashford is Chairman of the Hill Farm Project Steering Group and farms at West Buckfastleigh.

As well as being a Common landowner he is also a grazier and advocate for our industry and the

pivotal role upland farming plays on Dartmoor.  

In our last newsletter (April) we were just coming to terms with the impact of corona virus and here

we are in June with the problem still very much in the headlines. We must now look forward to preparing

ourselves for the future. The Test and Trials work being led by Harriet Bell is progressing well, and you can keep up to speed on this by visiting the ELMS section of the HFP website. We are grateful to the Advisory group of farmers for their input into this, and it is very encouraging to hear the views of several “next generation” farmers as well. If you have a view point that you would like to put across, then please pass this on. As has been said before, this is our one chance to help shape future support for Dartmoor.
The work of the Hill Farm Project is overseen by a committee of mainly farmers. We would normally meet 3 to 4 times per year and generally direct and advise on the work that the HFP carries out to best support Dartmoor’s farmers.  We are now looking for some new blood to sit on the Steering Group and if you feel that you could make a positive contribution and are interested in joining us, then please speak to David or Louise.  We are sorry to see Ed Pollard retire from the Steering Group, he has been a very positive force on the committee for the past 7 years but now feels the need to be “turned out to pasture”! Thank you for all of your support in the past Ed and I am pleased that you still wish to be a contributor.
Finally,  these are just my thoughts, with the double impact of Brexit and Covid 19, there will be many businesses of all types, right across the spectrum that are going to struggle to survive and so our intent should be to prioritise our purchases towards local companies. Whether it be animal feed, machinery and vehicle repairs, farm contracting, groceries (and beer !),  in fact all commodities, our local communities all need that revenue to safeguard jobs and the future for all of us.  

Stay safe and well.
Russ Ashford

Life as a Dartmoor Farmer - listen to Laura and Will discuss how and why they farm  

The clips below are of Laura Colwill who farms at Scoriton and Will Dracup who farms near Widecombe in the Moor. They were broadcast on local radio stations and were recorded to explain the way that they farm and what it's like to be a Dartmoor Farmer.

Laura Colwill
00:00 / 01:52
Will Dracup
00:00 / 01:50
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