Hill Farm is an all grass farm and lies
on the top of the Blackdown Hills, some 850 ft above sea level. Although mostly flat, it does have a small
wooded valley down one side of the farm, which has two great advantages. Firstly the deer, who can become very anxious at
calving time, can find solitude and space when they need it most. Secondly, we can use the shelter that this
lovely valley can afford to keep some animals out of the worst of the winter weather.
The remainder of the farm is divided up into 14 grass paddocks which helps us to rotate the animals
efficiently. The only fertilizers used are those necessary to ensure the long term fertility of the soil,
helping us to produce grass of fantastic quality.
The soil is good quality, grade 2 land but basically acidic so the ph has to be carefully monitored to
ensure the animals are given the best possible grazing.
The Deer We have a herd of 70 breeding deer and three large breeding stags. Every
summer during June and July, we have approximately 65 calves born. These youngsters stay with their mums until
the following spring when we wean them to give their mums a couple of months rest before the next batch of
The breeding season is through October and November when the three stags are given a small group of females each.
This is called "single sire mating" and allows us to keep detailed records of the deer breeding and therefore
enhance the better breeding traits to help improve the herd. In March every year, the big breeding stags shed
their antlers and grow a completely new set before the end of July. Farm bred stags generally grow much larger
antlers with many more points than their wild cousins who have a much harder life, avoiding predators, finding
food in the worst of the winter weather and fighting illness.
The deer for meat are generally despatched around 2 years of age. We are allowed to do it on the farm, thus
avoiding the need to transport them and we believe that the quality of the meat is far better due to the absence
of stress. We keep a few of the better female youngsters back every year as replacements in
the herd but we only keep a stag if it has the potential to be better than the ones we currently keep - and that
doesn't happen very often! May be once every six years!
Visitors to our farmshop will see the herds of Red Deer, Bison and Highland
cows and the flocks of sheep and chickens and ducks all enjoying a natural life
at Hill farm. We look forward to meeting both friends
and customers alike.
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Wallace's, Hill Farm, Hemyock, Devon, England EX15 3UZ
Telephone: +44 01823 680 307 Facsimile: +44 01823 680 329
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