The Dartmoor Shepherd is a local, sustainable farm company located in the rural community of Chagford on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. Set up in 2016 by a young local couple, the Dartmoor Shepherd is a great example of business graft and ingenuity … that when you want something badly enough that you’ll make it happen. Even if that’s when you have dreamt all through childhood of becoming a farmer but have no farm, no background in farming or even any land.
They currently rent 300 acres from 10 different landlords. On that 300 acres, they farm all three of Dartmoor’s native (and now rare) longwool sheep. The Dartmoor Shepherd is on a mission to revive ancient breeds and are passionate about farming their flocks in an ethical and sustainable way. And this is an excellent example of local supporting local – in that the Dartmoor Shepherd sends the skins of their flock to Devonia – Britain’s oldest established sheepskin tannery in Buckfastleigh – just down the road from Chagford and still in Devon.
For those that are considering starting their own business, the Dartmoor Shepherd – an exciting emergent rural business – is proof that dedication, long hours and hard work can pay off. In the words of the owners themselves …
‘Running a business and making it viable so it can pay us is hard, as well as being really stressful at times, but it’s more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.’
It is also proof that even if you don’t have a traditional background in the sector you wish to start a business in, that bringing a fresh approach to owning your own business makes things possible when combined with hard work.
‘It’s given us the freedom to do what we want to do. We look at everything with a fresh pair of eyes and don’t take inspiration from the last generation, quite simply because there wasn’t anybody in the family doing it before us!”