Follow Horner Farm's story

Sheep at Horner Farm, Holnicote

Learn more about Horner Farm, and how our farm tenants are working hard to farm produce sustainably and keep wildlife habitat in mind.

About the estate

The Holnicote Estate owns over 160 houses and cottages which are spread across six villages; eight being Grade II* listed and over 100 Grade II listed. Cottages are painted every seven years with rendered properties being painted in the familiar ochre lime wash. 

The majority of National Trust houses and cottages are tenanted and we rely on our tenants to act as custodians to these very special but often quirky homes.  Our in-house maintenance team still practice traditional buildings skills, such as lathe and plaster walls and ceilings, that are rapidly being replaced and lost in our modern world.

Horner Farm 

We have now appointed Holly and Mark as tenants for Horner Farm. This is the first full farm to be re-let on the estate since the early 90’s. Horner Farm, demonstrates how farming and nature can work together to deliver sustainable food production whilst protecting and enhancing the unique habitats found on the farm.

The farm re-letting has, at its heart, Professor Lawton’s principles of bigger, better and more joined up, taken from his Making Space for Nature review. Over the coming years the hedges will thicken up, the wood pasture will become established and there will be more infield trees planted across the holding. This will create wildlife corridors throughout the farm allowing wildlife to spill out of Horner Wood and down through the Vale.

Sensitive field management alongside tree planting will help improve soil health on this farm. We are hoping to see an increase in soil organic matter throughout the holding, making the land more resilient to drought in the summer months and increase its water holding capacity to help prevent floods downstream in the winter months. The newly seeded fields have been sown with mixed legumes which will help repair the soil, be attractive to wildlife and provide valuable forage for the farmer.

Two years on 

Holly and Mark run the farm with their two young sons Fergus and Moss. The farm is a mixed farm where they breed sheep, cattle and goats following regenerative farming practices.

The aim is to rebuild a healthy ecosystem at the farm which will benefit their livestock, wildlife and community. Holly and Mark focus on natural animal behaviour and positive soil health for the basis of the farm and this helps build biodiversity across it.

The farm holds food events and open days throughout the year. For more information about the farm and the events they run, follow the farm’s story here.