The managing directors Shaun and Kate Price and their children moved from Little Knowle Farm to Yelland Farm 5 years ago. Little Knowle Farm is where the Sign Maker was born, but also where our family grew up. At little knowle farm we did indeed have a farm. We had Gloucester old spot, tamworth and berkshire pigs, a herd of dexter cows, sheep, chickens and horses. Having lived, breathed and worked in the countryside our hearts were truly connected to this idyllic countryside of North Devon. So it’s not much of a surprise that we could not let that love of the countryside go when we moved to Yelland Farm. So we decided we wanted to give back to the countryside which gave our family so many lovely memories.
How are we giving back?
Within our products
Firstly we try our very hardest to be eco friendly with our materials for the Signs, within the wood department we use CSF certified timber, which means it’s from sustainable sources. We also use eco inks and recycled PVC products within our vinyl department.
When we first moved to Yelland Farm there was lots of work to be done, from converting old stables to new offices, and old farm barns into workshops. However even amongst all the chaos we decided that it would be important to have as much green energy as possible. Our first project, and a bit of a major one at that was the erection of our wind turbine.
Yelland farm is situated at the top of a considerably large hill which means its always windy, making it the perfect location for a wind turbine. However it was a bit of muddy experience! But 4 years on we could not be happier as we now have green energy. Today it is providing us with 12 kilowatts of power which is much needed for the workshops and offices.
Three years after the wind turbine was erected we installed a biomass boiler to heat all the houses, offices and workshops. All the timber brought for the biomass is cut locally from a sustainable source. To make sure we are sustainable as possible we also planted over 1500 willow and poplar.
When we first moved to Yelland farm it was very bleak with virtually no trees or wildlife. As a result we have planted a considerable amount of trees including 200 different species of trees including; apple, alder, oak, ash, silver birch and many more.
In addition we have planted over 1500 poplar and willow, this creates habitats for todays wildlife and logs for the future to help make the biomass an even greener form of energy.
Wild Flower Meadows
One advantage of our beautiful spot here in North Devon is that we have the stunning gardens of Rosemoor a mere 15 minutes away. Kate and Shaun are both happy members of the RHS and National Trust and enjoy visits to Rosemoor to gleam inspiration from their stunning gardens. One garden that sparked an idea was that of their beautiful wild flower meadows. After seeing the creation at Rosemoor we set aside 6 acres of land for wildflower meadows. Wildflower meadows are not only beautiful when in bloom but help provide the perfect home for wildlife. A key feature for anyone thinking of having a wildflower meadow is yellow rattle which helps to keep the grass low but allow the flowers to thrive.
The latest addition to the farm is that of the wildlife ponds created in the bottom field by Shaun himself using his JCB. Shaun created three ponds in a terraced format, of which the overflow of each one trickles down to the next pond. We were lucky to have a belt of clay to line the ponds so that it would hold the water.
With the ponds being so new it will take time for them to mature, so we have planted lots of oxygenated plants to help speed up the process. The ponds are next to an ancient woodland so as you can imagine the wildlife has already started to thrive, we have even seen newts and a hearing, although I can imagine he was a little disappointed not to find any fish!
As we said before, Yelland Farm was extremely bleak when we first moved in which meant that the bird and bug life was virtually non existent. There wasn’t even a resident robin! However with the help of lots of tree planting, the creation of Devon hedges and weekly feeds in lots of feeders, the birds have started to make Yelland Farm their home too. We now have an array of different species including;
And of course Bees!
Kate, one of the directing managers has had a long time love for bees and gardening, because of this she has always planted all kinds of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants for the bees including, willow, lavender, buddleia and cotoneaster. Kate has two bee hives and is hoping to have more soon.