Ruby Red Devon Cows can be spotted by their bright, rusty red coats. Because they are slow growing and only produce one calf, they aren’t useful to big companies who want to produce as much beef as possible for a small cost. But for farms like ours who want to prioritise conservation they are brilliant!

They have a hardy temperament, cause minimal damage to grassland, and have an innate ability to recycle grass with their digestive system. Our Ruby Reds are 100% pasture-fed throughout the year, producing higher-quality beef that is rich in nutrients.

Worker bee collecting pollen on Hydrangea aspera


Here at Wyke we have a few hives of honeybees (Apis mellifera) who give us delicious honey all year. We only keep a few hives because in the wild, honeybee colonies would be much more widely spaced out than in beekeeping apiaries and we feel it is important our honeybees don’t outcompete other pollinators.

The Shrill Carder Bee (Bombus sylvarum) is one type of bumblebee that has been totally wiped off the map in the UK. We are working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Buglife to try and help reintroduce the Shrill Carder Bee here at Wyke.


Orchards were once common round here but, like lots of artisanal industries, they were neglected in favour of industrial farming methods. One of their many benefits is that crops and animals can support each other in the same space.

It is a level of biodiversity that doesn’t get found in a field of grass. Today there is hope that incentives offered to farmers to plant trees in place of pasture will enable more farms to try agro-forestry. Not only are there better returns for the farmer, but nature gets a chance!


Poll Dorset Sheep (poll = without horns) are a docile, hardy flock that enjoy a variety of pastures around the farm. They have short-ish wool and are thick-set and brawny. Unlike some other breeds that run, flock and generally fire up aggressors, we have seen our sheep see off two ill- intentioned dogs.

This ancient breed is also known for its unusual ability to have lambs all year round. This means we can always have a ram with them and minimise the risk of disease that comes from bringing in external sheep.


Large Black pigs are one of Britain’s rarest breeds. A post-war shift to intensive farming led to the decline in many outdoor-dwelling heritage breeds, and the Large Black was listed as critically endangered.

As omnivores, they find much of what they need from foraging fallen acorns or digging for roots and tubers, and produce high quality, succulent meat that is particularly delicious when cured and smoked. And they can even make lovely pets! Of all the pig breeds that Wyke has been home to over the years, Large Blacks are our favourites.


Alongside the bounteous wildlife, Wyke is home to some of the only apex predators in the UK: foxes, badgers, otters and the barbarous North American Mink (who we suspect of snatching all the ducklings, cygnets and goslings one year).

These predators relish in a tasty flock of chickens. But as a conservation farm our shooting policy is clear: no shooting. Before the construction of a sturdy fence and electric braiding we witnessed several murders most foul. Today we have happy, safe chickens producing lovely nut-brown and green eggs.