A class act

Country Smallholding|February 2020

A class act
Devon-based Carole and Jonty Williams are passionate about the centuries-old philosophy of husbandry, and they are doing their best to spread the word via their Husbandry School and the courses they run. Philip Dalling takes a closer look
Philip Dalling

An ancient philosophy with a powerful relevance to the ecological ills of the modern world has taken root on an inspiring Devonshire hilltop just a stone’s throw from Dartmoor. Husbandry, the careful nurturing of nature, the timeless skill of looking after the ground which looks after us, is the passion of Carole and Jonty Williams of Liddy Ball, Bickington, near Ashburton. The couple believes that centuriesold philosophy will play a vital role in the transition we must all make towards a truly sustainable future for the planet.

Their Husbandry School, which provides education and training, produces local food for local people, keeps heritage varieties alive and well and explores different methods of working with nature. But the fact that their produce, and the way it is grown and the way their livestock are raised, excites demanding restaurateurs both far and wide is only a part of the story, for the Husbandry School also has an increasingly recognised community role, using the natural resources in which it is so rich to offer care and training for young people with additional needs.

This dual role is made possible by the dual expertise of Carole and Jonty. Jonty, with a degree in ecology, has a background in dairy farming. Carole is an educationalist, specializing in behavioural management and community development.

The foundation for the school’s success is the study and application of husbandry, with the word used in its broadest (and most original) sense.

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February 2020