Pepperhill Farm

Pepperhill Farm, Plainsfield is set in landscaped parkland. It is part of the old Quantock Estate. It keeps a herd of beef cattle, and supplies quality organic meat locally and nationally. The farm is managed under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

The Pepperhill cattle graze on lush green grass under the shade of old trees.

  • The grassy slopes and scattered trees of old parkland provide good conditions for these beef cattle. This is an organic farm so the land isn’t treated with chemical fertilizers.

There are 50 cows and about 100 calves at Pepperhill. The calves are born in April. They stay with their mothers until they are 10 months old.

  • There are 3 types of cow on the farm: Simmental/Hall cows are chocolate-brown and white;
  • Angus/Friesian cows are black and white;
  •  Limousin cross cows are golden-brown.
  • There are two bulls (a Simmental and a Limousin) which mate with the cows in June. The male calves (bullocks) are sent for slaughter at about 2 years.  They go to an organic abattoir. Their meat is sold in Sainsbury’s.

During the winter, the cows live in big barns and sheds.

  • In winter, the cows are sheltered in big, modern barns and fed on organic silage and hay which is grown on the farm. They are also given mineral supplements.  While the cows are inside, 400 sheep are let onto the fields to eat the rough grass that they have left behind.

All the grass and wild flowers in this meadow will make delicious hay.

  • Pepperhill is an organic farm. No chemicals are used to kill weeds or pests, so the hayfield is full of wild flowers as well as grass.  The field is cut.  Some of the grass is dried first and stored as hay.  Some of it is stored wet as silage.

The cut grass will be piled up here and covered with black plastic sheets to make silage.

  • After the hayfield is cut, all the grass is piled up in this corner. To make silage, the grass must be kept moist, so it is covered with black plastic sheets.  Then these are weighed down with old tyres.

"How Many Tyres?"

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A new apple and pear orchard at Pepperhill Farm.

  • A new apple and pear orchard at Pepperhill Farm.

This grand Victorian building, Quantock Lodge, looks over Pepperhill Farm.

  • Quantock Lodge was built as the centre of the huge Quantock Estate. It was sold and became a sanatorium in 1925.  The estate was split up into smaller farms, including Pepperhill Farm

The gatehouse and old iron railings show that Pepperhill Farm was once part of a grand estate.

  • Pepperhill Farm also looks after the historic landscape, so that the special features (like the old buildings, trees and railings) are protected and conserved.

Pepperhill Farmhouse used to be the laundry for Quantock Lodge.

  • Pepperhill an old house that was rebuilt in 1859, as a laundry for Quantock Lodge. The round building was a dairy. Since then it has been altered again and now the farmer’s family live here.

Clumps of unusual trees grow at Pepperhill.

  • The owners of the old Quantock Estate planted groups of  trees on the slopes and hilltops, to create picturesque views. These views help make the Quantock Hills special

Piles of old wood and leaves make a good home for minibeasts.

  • The woods at Pepperhill are managed to encourage wildlife.  Timber and undergrowth provides a habitat for many species of woodland plants and creatures.

Nestboxes have been put up for birds, bats and owls

  • Somerset Wildlife Trust put up the nest boxes in 2005. They hope to attract redstarts, tits  and owls to Pepperhill Farm