Hi and welcome to Quiet Waters. We are a small, family run, mixed farm in Atherington, in the heart of North Devon, specialising in producing quality wholesome foods and exploring and sharing sensible, sustainable methods and approaches to farming in what are changing and challenging times.
Although John grew up in the village, on a small dairy and horticulture farm, the real start of this project was born when Carrie and John met whilst studying low input agriculture at UEA Norwich in the early 1990′s.
Plans were discussed and sketched out for a farm that could embody some of the traditional values we felt farming had lost during its increasing industrialisation in the late 20th century as well as embracing elements of Permaculture, Biological approaches to fertility management and an emphasis on un mechanised, ‘human scale’ livelihoods being sought by ever greater integration of allied enterprises and an emphasis on the reuse of otherwise ‘waste’ products to fuel other aspects of the farms production.
Over and above all this though was a love of the land, a desire to give our five children a naturally based upbringing and a healthy and secure future. We are passionate about good food, and good food needs good farming so that’s what we are all about. Looking to take much of our produce through to a finished, ready for market – or even ready for eating – state, through the charcuterie, meats and homemade accompaniments as well as our move into longer term, perennial forest gardens and edible landscaping.
When we started here in 2003 the farm was some 26 acres of ancient Culm grassland, treacherous bogs and lots (and lots) of reeds and rampant regenerated woodland.
All our interventions with the natural flora and fauna have been minimal with careful and patient observation informing any activities before they start and continuing to inform all present and future plans. This way negative impacts are avoided wherever possible and the benefits of working with, as opposed to against, the natural systems at play are fully realised.
Gradually we have brought much of the farm into productive use and as our first ten year observation period nears an end we feel we know the land, the climate and the plants and animals we share it with, very well.
The farms infrastructure is designed to function ‘off grid’ with its own water supply and renewable wind and solar energy for power and hot water. Other external inputs are also kept to a minimum by seeking to provide nutrient requirements, seed and other needs from cross-over and reciprocal arrangements between different on farm enterprises. The entire farm is run on an entirely chemical free and largely un-mechanised basis. This naturally leads to a healthy and diverse mix of inter-related schemes running on the farm.
As well as the work we are doing here on progressing our own plans we also work with other land based projects through the well established ‘Quiet Waters Consultancy’ which has worked on many small ‘whole farm’ systems, ‘eco-community’ developments, and provides planning advice and specific consultancy on agricultural facility construction, design and management, growing and food production methods by offering professional services to individuals, businesses and government bodies.
Fundamentally though we continue our primary work as farmers, putting ideas to a true test and exposing these to the markets we work and trade within. The result is the whole range of food and other produce that are the real fruit of the low-input natural systems we practice. This is sold through our event catering service, to Delicatessens, Caterers, Restaurants both locally and nationally as well as to the public through farmers markets, local deliveries, the web shop here and outlets such as our Facebook page.
We are always happy to talk about our approach and methods and operate an open gate policy for interested visitors who make an appointment to visit.