Jubilee Park Farm was originally part of Heath Hill Farm, Winkleigh. The land was bought from John Kenworthy by Clifford Dennis of West Tawton in 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Dennis called it Jubilee Park Farm because he thought that the line of trees dividing the two main meadows made the land look like a farm (see banner photo above!). He travelled daily to the farm and applied for planning permission to build a house on the site. There was a great struggle over this with the council granting and then withdrawing the permission. Eventually it was granted but Dennis had already decided to sell the land to Fred and Janet Squance who bought the land with permission to build a farm house in 2003. The Squances lived in a mobile home on site as they built the house. Douglas and Nicola Knight bought the property and moved in on 5 January 2012, the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!
The Knights have a vision to establish a mixed small holding that will provide for themselves and for others in the future. The vision is to offer hospitality and hope to many who come and stay with them. The invitation to come and take part in the project is an open one and they are very keen to see others share the vision with them. They believe that the economy is in a dramatic time of change which will lead many to seek out a simpler and more wholesome way of life, connected to the land, the seasons, the family and the community. North Devon has a long tradition of rural life and farming and offers the ideal location to start this project.
Moortown Farm, across the lane from us, was owned by Ted Hughes, who was Poet Laureate for many years. Writing in 1979, in the preface to ‘Moortown Diaries’, Ted Hughes says this:
Buried in their deep valleys, in undated cob-walled farms hidden not only from the rest of England but even from each other, connected only by the inexplicable, Devonshire, high-banked, deep-cut lanes that are more like a maze of defensive burrows, these old Devonians lived in a time of their own… The breed was so distinct, so individualised and so all of a piece that they seemed to me also a separate race.
How rapidly that changed within the next decade, how completely that ancient world and its spirit vanished, as the older generation died off and gave way to sons who were plunged into the finance nightmares, the technological revolutions and international market madness that have since devastated farmers, farms, and farming every seen , intensifying right up to this moment…..
That seismic upheaval which has been, probably, one of the biggest extinctions so far in the evolution of the English countryside and farming tradition. … this deeply satisfying self-reliant if occasionally gruelling way of life had mutated – into a jittery, demoralised, industrial servitude, in effect farming not stock and land but grants and subsidies, at the mercy of foreign politicians, big business conglomerates, banks managers and accountants.