About Us at Holly Farm
Robert started the first holiday cottage conversion in 1992. The Ciderhouse was ready in time for the summer season and by the end of that year we realised that there was a demand for good quality accommodation in the countryside. He continued to convert one cottage every year until 1997, when the Linny, our disabled access cottage, was finished.
Robert & Liz live at Holly Farmhouse, which has been completely renovated and extended. We are on hand for visitors’ enquiries and look after the cottages together. The farm is on the other side of the road based around Holly Cottage.
We are fortunate to have Heather and Kim cleaning and preparing the cottages and pool.
Robert is still an active farmer and specializes in growing wheat for roofing thatch.
The History of Holly Farm
My great-great-grandfather purchased Holly Farm in the 1850s and my family have farmed here since then. My great-grandfather renovated Holly Farmhouse in 1887, facing the front with local Lias and Ham stone. The stone barns that are now our holiday cottages were built at the same time. Cider was made in a ciderhouse for the workers and the horses were kept in what is now the lounge. About 20 cows were milked by hand throughout the rest of the buildings. My grandmother made the milk into butter and cheese in the farmhouse.
The farm started to change during WW2 when more land was ploughed to grow cash crops. In 1952 the cows were moved to a new purpose built cowstall, near Holly Cottage, to be milked by machine. In 1984, prior to the introduction of milk quotas, the cows were sold and we kept beef cattle. The old buildings were used to house young animals and general stores.
As a small farm, we realised that we would have to do something different to survive so we started growing wheat for roofing thatch. This is a traditional variety of wheat with long stalks and light ears that is cut with a binder (see picture). It is stooked in the field by hand and when dry brought into the barn. During the winter it is processed with a threshing machine. Our machine was built in 1886 and was originally driven by steam.
In 1991, with government encouragement we started our first cottage conversion. This proved very popular so we converted the remainder of the buildings; one cottage a year.The combination of cottages and growing roofing thatch has enabled our small family farm to survive and prosper.