Westleigh is typical of the farms found in this corner of West Somerset - all the fields are permanent pasture bounded with restored hedgerows or oak and ash woodland. Our hay meadow is full of wild flowers - clovers, hawkweed, dandelions, black medick and sorrel. Beneath the oaks in the woods primroses, anemones, violets, wild garlic and bluebells thrive. In May the high-banked lanes are like gardens with stitchworts, cow parsley, archangel, red campion and foxgloves. Here the soil is an astonishingly strong red colour. Many of the vernacular buildings are built of terracotta-coloured sandstone, including our house. We think the stone was dug straight out of the hillside and moved directly to the stonemasons to put to good use. In fact the style of construction is called ‘Rubblestone’ as it is not very organised. We have our own spring water which is extremely pure and tastes lovely.
We are interested in growing, and eating, as much of our own produce as we can. At times we are well-stocked with a few pigs, turkeys, chickens as well as our sheep. Lambing is usually mid-March to mid-April and our black Welsh Mountain lambs are very adorable. We have been re-planting old Somerset Cider Apple varieties in the small orchard - the crop makes delicious apple juice, but our cider-making skills need refining - we usually end up using it for cooking! We get out the apple press once a year for an exhausting weekend of collecting, crushing and pressing apples. You are welcome to join in if your visit coincides.
Our garden is a work in progress with terraces, lawns and borders and a productive vegetable and cutting garden. You are welcome to sit in it or wander through at your leisure. Kate is devoted to growing flowers for bees and dreams of having some beehives for honey one day soon.
We have domestic cats and a dog and they live downstairs. If you are bringing your own, well-behaved, dog we ask that they sleep in your car, remain outside and are kept on a short lead around the farm at all times. We have very free-range bantam hens, sometimes with chicks, and sheep in the fields – none of which appreciate being chased. There are good footpaths and a bridlepath leading directly from the farm gate where you can exercise your dog more freely. Please bring a torch and wellies as this track can be muddy.
Westleigh Farmhouse is strictly non-smoking.