A fam­ily af­fair

Amanda Mar­shall talks to Deb­bie Kings­ley about her small­hold­ing and liv­ery yard in Devon

Country Smallholding - - Welcome! -

Three gen­er­a­tions live down a long farm track that opens out to thrilling views of Dart­moor on one side and Ex­moor on the other. Amanda Mar­shall shares a 34-acre small­hold­ing with her par­ents, Tr­isha and Tim, and her five chil­dren, Ciaran, Philippa, Ber­tie and three-year-old twins Ben and Toby.

Tim was in the Army and sta­tioned abroad and most of the first an­i­mals were ac­quired in those years. Amanda ex­plains how the menagerie de­vel­oped: “I started rid­ing when I was four years old, and got my first horse when I was 14. I spent my sum­mers work­ing with Shires and at a horse sanc­tu­ary near where we lived in Nor­folk. We had ham­sters and ger­bils, guinea pigs and dogs and, as we’ve moved from place to place, we’ve col­lected more an­i­mals as we’ve gone along. The first live­stock was a cou­ple of sheep given to us by a lo­cal farmer, then we gave two Viet­namese pot-bel­lied pigs to Dad, then there were more than 40 chick­ens, geese and ducks and some pygmy goats.”

While the free-range hens peck gen­tly but de­ter­minedly at the back of my bare legs, Amanda in­tro­duces me to the don­keys, the mag­nif­i­cent nine-year-old French Poitou, Woolly, and the bread and but­ter don­key Te­abag with her two-week-old baby, Dave. “We got our first don­keys in 1997, Daisy and Brandy, who were 22 and 23 years old, beach don­keys from We­ston-su­per-Mare, as com­pan­ions for my horse. We’ve kept

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.