Godminster at 15 - Pete Cheek

Pete, Farm Manager of Godminster Farm

In our second glimpse in to Godminster At 15 we have asked Godminster Farm’s manager, Pete Cheek, about what his highlights have been over the years...

“When we first started farming we had roughly 550 acres but fifteen years and lots of hard work later Godminster Farm has evolved in to 1,350 acres of rolling Somerset countryside. That means we’re farming land equal to about 675 football pitches or enough space to park 200,000 cars for those that don’t know their acreage…

“The growth in material space is one thing but what it actually represents is far more important: with more land we’ve seen newly planted trees develop in to young woods and seen how the song bird and brown hare numbers have increased in leaps and bounds. We’ve changed from grass & clover fields to now planting additional herb leys that go towards feeding our herd and keeping the cows even healthier. At Godminster Farm our herd are nearly wholly self-sufficient with the vast majority of our feed coming from our own crops planted across the farm. Eric, my first tractor driver, started ploughing these crops with a plough pulled by horses just like in the traditional olden days before being converted to a tractor that had a computer in it – although he never knew that!

“The very first farmers market that Richard (Godminster’s owner) and I sold our Vintage Organic Cheddar at was in the nearby town of Wincanton. Back then we only had our 1kg and 2kg truckles – we sold out on that first day and from then on we knew we were on to something special.

“Fifteen years later it’s amazing to look back at how the farm has evolved. Keeping up with supplying the demands of Godminster customers has been exciting and challenging and has impacted how we farm in all sorts of ways. On the farm itself we’ve grown from a team of 3 to a family of 5 with a linked holding in Cornwall and all kinds of other animals now being reared on the farm too. We’ve even had a go at making cider from the ancient varieties of apple trees found on the farm – although as to whether we’ll start making Godminster cider is yet to be seen…

“Innovation and change with a healthy respect for nature and tradition has always been at the heart of Godminster farm. These past fifteen years have given us so much – now it’s time to look ahead to the next fifteen years and what they might bring us!”

Follow Pete on Twitter @farmerchico for more!