luxury devon self catering
luxury devon self catering pool holiday self catering west country uk swimming south coast
The Surface of Devonshire is mostly of a very unequal and undulating character, the land opening up into a succession of small valleys, clothed with verdure, and within the sheltered recesses of which ample opportunities are afforded for careful and successful farming. Yet the rich luxuriance of the soil, and the soft mild pleasing varieties of the general scenery, are not always maintained, nor, even in Devonshire, is the climate everywhere mild. In many places the land is of a less kindly nature, especially as we leave the green valleys and approach the great moorland wastes of Dartmoor, &c. which rise in lofty elevations, and are swept by cold and cheerless winds. Owing to the great variety of climate and soil, a system of farming has arisen in the county, which combines nearly every branch of practical agriculture. Dairy and tillage farming form the principal feature of this system, but the cultivation of orchards, the irrigation of meadows, and the breeding and feeding of stock, are also extensively pursued. These do not form separate occupations, but are generally combined in each farm, and carried out as the convenience of the farmer and the resources of the land suggest. Perhaps a mixed system of agriculture like this may appear little calculated to attain that degree of successful development which is generally supposed to follow the concentration of industry within those boundaries which the division of labour suggests, but such does not appear to be the practical result. Devon cattle, cream, and cider are all equally famous, and of late years the practice of agriculture in all its branches, has made great progress in the county; with but little assistance from the great land owners, who have, however, during the last two years, made some advances towards the permanent improvement of their estates.
During the last 20 years, the rent of land in the county is said to have been increased one-third; though many of the farmers complain that they are often saddled with the expense of keeping in repair the most inferior description of farm buildings, and that their crops are robbed by the great abundance of large trees growing in the hedgerows. The farmers of Devon are divided into two classes, one consisting of men with small holdings, little elevated above the condition of labourers; and the other of men holding large farms and who, being educated as well as practical agriculturists, have been gradually introducing improved method of developing the resources of the soil. In this way, though an immense arrear of useful and profitable labour still remains to be performed, draining has been introduced, and is now struggling into general use; the levelling of the hedgerows makes some progress; an increased breadth of meadow irrigation has been secured; the value of artificial manures has begun to be generally recognised; and the breeding of Devon cattle, one of the most graceful and shapely kind of the species in this island, has been brought to a high state of perfection. As a further illustration of the progress which agriculture has been making here, we may state that, in one parish in North Devon, there are now 800 acres of green crop raised where there were only 80 acres eight years ago. Formerly leases for life were very common here, having been granted generally by necessitous landlords for nominal rents, and the value of the land at about 18 years' purchase.
Of late, leases for lives have been discountenanced, and in their stead have been generally substituted leases for years. For large farms, these are usually from seven to ten years in duration; and for small farms, six years, with a break at the end of three years, which, if not taken advantage of, extends the term three years more. The improvements in agriculture throughout the county are contemporaneous with the change from the old relations between landlord and tenant to the new; and, though the terms of the leases for years are generally complained of as much too short, they are infinitely preferable to the tenancies from year to year, which are so prevalent in other parts of England.
Devon Cottage Holidays