History of our land use

Old Parsonage Farm from the air

For almost a century the land and estate at Dartington have been a place that pioneered new, sometimes controversial, agricultural processes.  Today a regenerative approach is at the centre of estate activity.

Leonard Elmhirst, founder of The Dartington Hall Trust, grew up among the landed gentry of Yorkshire before heading off to study agriculture at Cornell University in America. 

In the pre- and post-war years he instigated the first trials of artificial insemination of cattle and battery farm chickens  at Dartington. The UK’s national soil survey originated on the estate, new ground was broken in forestry with exotic conifer trials and the first pasteurised apple juice produced in Britain was made at Dartington in 1935.

The farming of today is radically different.  The industry faces multiple challenges from climate change, fuel costs, aggressive supermarkets, biodiversity loss, and, for those wishing to start a new venture, it has become increasingly difficult to gain access to land.

We are proud to have our New Entrants to Farming Programme which offers land as well as technical and practical support to the next generation of farmers and producers.  We are also pleased to have such a diverse range of small enterprises on the estate who exemplify how, as a society, we can move towards a better future for people and planet.


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