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      History of Great Avercombe Farm

      The family have been farming land at Great Avercombe for almost 150 years.

      Great Avercombe Farm

      Clare’s Great-Great-Grandfather first came to Great Avercombe in 1883 as a tenant on the Manor of Bishops Nympton.

      Her Grandfather took over Great Avercombe in 1947 and farmed as a typical mixed farmer. In 1966 he purchased Great Avercombe from the Manor and added Severy fields to the farm in 1968 (this land is where the first wildflower meadow has been sown).

      Clare's father took over the farm in 1984 and purchased neighbouring blocks of land.

      Matthew and Clare started farming at Great Avercombe in 2009. Their children Naomi, Phoebe and William are the 6th generation at Great Avercombe, and now talk of being farmers there in the future.

      Meet the Family

      Matthew Cooke

      Matt was born already programmed to work with and love animals! He never really excelled at school unless the topic was either wildlife or farming related, so not being an academic, he left school at 16 and joined his father’s engineering business. He spent his evenings and weekends working on local farms. He also spent many hours in the woodlands and rivers fascinated by the miracle of nature whether it was an otter in a stream, a brood of blue tit chicks in an old oak tree or a frosty morning. Matt longed to be outdoors, 11 years of being under the engineering roof was enough, so when he and Clare married, Matt started working at Great Avercombe farm. In his spare time he enjoys teaching Naomi, Phoebe, and William all about nature and sustainable farming. His favourite animal is the barn owl and his favourite wildflower is the cornflower.

      Clare Cooke

      Clare has lived at Great Avercombe all her life except for 4 years when she attended Cambridge University to read English and train to be a Primary School Teacher. Clare and Matt met when Clare was 17 at a village party and married in 2007. Clare taught and was involved in school management for 5 years before their lovely children Naomi (2012), Phoebe (2013) and William (2015) came along. Clare has been supporting Matt to develop the family farming business as well as being an active member of the Bishops Nympton Community. She is Vice-Chair of Governors at the local school and sits on the Church Council. She has just taken up a new role as an Early Years Advisor for the Diocese of Exeter. Clare enjoys spending time with her family and friends and singing. Her favourite wildflowers are red campions and buttercups which are a riot of colour in the hedgerows of the farm in the spring and summer.

      Naomi Cooke

      Naomi is the eldest child in the family. She enjoys gymnastics and riding. She loves to play outside and go riding with her friends on the farm. She recently won a prize at the village flower show for an arrangement of grasses and ferns from the farm which she did. Her favourite wildflower is the English bluebell which populates the woods at Great Avercombe in the spring.

      Phoebe Cooke

      Phoebe is the middle child in the family. She enjoys dancing and swimming. She loves to go out on the farm with Matt who has taught her many names of birds, trees, plants and wildflowers. She recently won a trophy for her wildflower knowledge at a local pony riding event. Her favourite wildflower is the poppy which can be seen in cornfields in the summer.

      William Cooke

      William is the youngest in the family. He enjoys ‘helping’ his Daddy on the farm and riding around on toy tractors. He likes to play hide and seek in Great Avercombe woods with his friends and enjoys looking for wildlife on the farm. He says his favourite wildflowers are herb robert and cow parsley which are found in the farms hedgerows.

      Ruby dog

      Ruby is a 2 year old springer spaniel who loves to be at Matt’s side in all he does on the farm. She enjoys long walks on Great Avercombe and swimming in the river which runs through the farm. Her favourite pastime is sneakily jumping onto the sofa for a nap when no one’s looking! She is the children’s best friend and she loves all wildflowers.

      Be a part of the Wildflower Farmer Family by joining them on their mission to bring back wildflower meadows.  This ecosystem will offset carbon and create a fantastic wildlife habitat.  Your subscription will help create wildflower meadows at Great Avercombe and then maintain them.