It was a pleasure to visit Bowden Farm near South Brent to meet Russell and Sandy Ashford and members of the Dartmoor Preservation Society and Commoners Association to hear about the problems facing hill farmers in South Devon. It is vital that when the Common Agricultural Policy is reviewed, the particular challenges facing hill farmers are recognised. At present they receive less in the way of subsidies despite working in the most challenging terrain and looking after so much in the way of open access countryside.
Without maintaining the delicate balance of grazing stock our moorland would rapidly become inaccessible and we can already see where this is happening in some parts of Dartmoor. Farmers need to have their environmental work fairly rewarded be that for South West Water or on behalf of everyone that enjoys the freedom of the moors.