Explore Braunton - The Most Biodiverse Parish in England

Modern Times

It is reassuring perhaps to see that although ownership has changed, the Great Field is still farmed heavily today. It seems to maintain its reputation for fertility and is respected as an unscheduled ancient monument.

Although the number of strips has shrunk (to 491 in 1889 and just 100 in 1989), some are farmed in the traditional way and the best can be seen in the Gallowell area of the Field.

Growing Awareness

There is the ever-present threat that the Field will be developed and lost forever, but growing awareness of its national importance helps to ensure its conservation. 

Reg Ashton

Reg Ashton at work on the Great Field 2008 cOne farmer helping to keep the history of the Great Field alive is Reg Ashton, whose family have farmed there for many generations. He was one of numerous brothers and sisters although his father died when he was young, leaving Reg’s mother and her eldest sons to manage in his place.

Reg was the second eldest son, but his older brother was away in the RAF most of the time and so Reg took on much of the responsibility.


explore braunton, the most biodiverse parish in england - a north devon aonb project