Tim Barton

Manor Farm, Wadswick Country Store Ltd, Wiltshire

BEING flexible and open to new ideas is a good way to describe Tim Barton, who has been farming in Wiltshire for 52 years – and started the diversification process 40 years ago.

The main reason behind diversifying the core arable farm was to maximise the value of self-production and become self-sufficient in green energy.

From drying and storage of grain in 1973 to the launch of Wadswick Country Store in 1984, Tim says his diversification has changed direction over the years due to both market changes and health.

More recently the farm has created a 5mw solar park, planted biomass crops, and launched a gun room and shooting simulator.

Wadswick Country Store is the most demanding – but successful – side of the business.

“Had we not diversified we would not have had a business that the next generation could join and continue to build.”

Next generation

The business is in the process of building a new café and restaurant to meet demand from the consumer base in a rural destination store.

Online is a big challenge for the farm with a push for online retail as the business attempts to hold on to customers.

But the farm remains the core of the business and Tim says the family is looking at moving into robotics with a milking herd and bringing in the younger generation.

He says: “With consumers taking more interest in where the food comes from, we are keen to explore bringing young and innovative farmers to Wadswick to supply, as an example, zero miles produce such as milk.

“After about five years I will pass on the mantle to our children Jo and Alex – and the grandchildren – to continue to grow Wadswick in a sympathetic and sustainable way.”