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Health &

Looking after yourself and each other

It’s no surprise that farming can be a challenging and isolating profession. In our role at DHFP, we recognise and witness the pressure that many farm businesses are under on Dartmoor first-hand and have been working with charities and groups to provide support for those in need. Recent reports have sought to clarify the scale of this problem nationally, noting that the LFA grazing livestock sector is one of particular concern, such as the RABI Big Farming Survey and the FCN research into social isolation in farming.

We feel that it is essential to support the people who farm if you are to ensure farming as an industry not only survives, but can thrive, adapt and offer viable opportunities for the next generation. Raising awareness of what support is available and being clear that asking for help is a positive thing.

DHFP have strong connections with the Farming Community Network (FCN) and Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) who offer specialist counselling, while we develop and deliver local actions across Dartmoor. Our aim is to offer and encourage participation with a range of informal initiatives so that local people can access these, know where to turn for further help if necessary, or just to attend local events. For example:

Farmer Breakfasts - Reconnecting


Simply social get togethers, and food of course! We have helped run a series of these around Dartmoor either in a farm kitchen, café or village hall. Supported by FCN who contributed to the initial costs & further boosted by the WTF fundraiser below. 


These have grown with interest and most become loosely regular events based around demand from the group - who tend to organise themselves, keeping numbers manageable and providing a space to chat.  We are keen to help develop more of these smaller groups, aiming to create a network across Dartmoor. Do get in touch if you are interested to create one in your area, most groups run with 5-10 people, but we can also help organise larger events - all are welcome!

Some of our groups are now venturing out on other outings and joined our summer social BBQ with sheepdog demonstration last summer or winter Quiz night. We are looking at what event we might run next...

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Over the last year or so, over 700 individual breakfasts have been catered for and a lot of chat generated. Funding exists to support the set up, including paying for the initial breakfasts. It's often as simple as a few neighbours getting together in a farm kitchen, maybe rotating who does the cooking.

Due to the level of interest, several existing groups are now reaching capacity, so new ones are essential to help meet demand.


If you are interested in running one yourself, please get in touch at 

Witheridge to Frenchbeer (WTF)​​

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In memory of Mike Malseed, a group of friends and family followed ‘Mike’s life journey’ by walking, running, cycling and horse riding from Witheridge to Frenchbeer to raise awareness and funding for mental health support.  Mike was born in Witheridge, Mid-Devon, but spent most of his life at Frenchbeer Farm near Chagford on Dartmoor. In 2021 Mike suffered a mental health crisis, which tragically resulted in him taking his own life.

  • The funds raised have been used to run specialist training events to help more people recognise the signs of those in need and to identify and signpost what help is available. Funds have also contributed to expand the capacity to run more farmer breakfasts, enabling a greater spread of these to take place and reduce isolation.

  • FCN was the official charity for Chagford Show in 2023. As a result of their direct support and fundraising, a cheque for a further £4,000 was recently presented to FCN regional co-ordinator Stephen Dennis, to provide support for our local farming community.


The DHFP Team and a small group from our farming community have undertaken Mental Health First Aid awareness training, alongside individuals linked to or regularly in contact with the farming community and this is something that we will continue to develop. This has included  Farm Advisors, Rangers, Estates, Vets etc, and where possible we aim to supplement costs or link up to expand its reach. The WTF fundraiser has also supported training provision via Papyrus.

Community Pillars

A pilot initiative developed by RABI who approached DHFP to run a trial on Dartmoor, targeting upland areas specifically. This aims to identify community needs and any gaps in available support helping to develop individuals to support and signpost those in need to suitable services. It is a concept originally developed by the armed services and forms one of many new initiatives being developed by RABI in partnership with farm support networks across England. On Dartmoor we are supporting a women’s group with a focus on young mothers and farming wives. If you would like to participate, please contact us.

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All of these providers can help you understand or deal with any problems and speak in confidence. The key messages are to come forward and ask for help if you need it, don’t increase your worries by letting things build up and get on top of you.


If you are interested in any of our activities, please contact the DHFP Team at or Tel. 01822 890913 and do invite along a friend or neighbour. One of the benefits of getting involved in any of our projects or events at DHFP, is the ability to meet and chat with other farmers, which is a positive thing in itself and for many, a rare opportunity to take time away from the farm.

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