Les says: “When I was a boy growing up in the countryside, it was the old men who showed me the ways and life of my rural environment. Today, I am the ‘old man’ and it’s my job to do the same for others.”
Orchard Courses, Contracting and Advisory Work
- Do you have a community orchard in your village? Would you like to establish one?
- Have you an orchard that is in an agricultural environment scheme and need help in its management?
- Do you need help with an orchard restoration project?
- Would you like to learn how to prune your apple trees, graft your own apple varieties and understand how to look after them?
Then why not contact Westcountryman and draw on over 40 years of Les Davies’ orcharding experience. He delivers orchard workshops, as well as being an orchard contractor and advisor. Visit the Orchard Courses page for more details.
Availability – Orchard pruning generally takes places over the winter so any contracting work and Orchard Courses take place in the Autumn & Winter months. Community Orchard planning and planting takes place in Winter / Early Spring.
Small Orchard and Paddock Mowing
Click here to visit the ‘Les at Work’ gallery to see some photos of mowing in action.
Contact Westcountryman for more information on mowing availability and costs.
For those longer winter evenings, why not book the Westcountryman for an illustrated talk to your group, club or society. Les Davies has for many years delighted audiences with his local knowledge and unique delivery.
- Mendip Hills Through the Time Tunnel: an exploration of the development of the Mendip Hills landscape, and the human influence that has shaped the countryside that we hold so dear today.
- Somerset Cider Orchards: The history of the Somerset cider apple and how apple trees are grown to produce that renowned West Country drink, cider.
- The Butcombe Trail: Find out how this 46 mile trail that links six Butcombe Brewery pubs on Mendip was conceived and developed. Take a virtual walk around the route with Les and Sue Gearing who together devised this popular leisure trail.
- The Seriously NOT Boring walks book: Written and presented by Sue Gearing and Les. This exciting idea introduced children and their families to the fun and pleasure of the countryside. Full of activities and things to do on route. Find out how the book was developed for Mendip and hear how the idea was taken to the Tamar Valley AONB Trails in Devon.
- To Follow The Plough: A story of life in a farm worker’s family in the mid 20th century and how it shaped Les’ life. Full of pictures and thoughts that can never be re-captured and from a way of life that will never come back.
Availability – Les generally gives talks over the Winter period.
Guided walks and Countryside Education
Les says: I carry out a lot of farm and countryside educational work with both Yeo Valley and Thatcher’s cider. Most of this is aimed at school children in the key stage 1 & 2 groups (6 to 9 yrs old approx). I have reintroduced the old ‘Nature Walk’ that many remember from their own childhood with great affection and the children love it.
There are a lot of adult groups who enjoy a guided walk with a difference. What is the story behind those humps and bumps in the field? What was that plant used for in times gone by? Why does the hedgerow not go in a straight line? These are some of the questions that I have been asked and every view will tell a story. Every year I take a group of students from the University of Georgia in the United States around the Mendip Hills to explain the history, mystery and magic that lies within the landscape.
I have contact with nearly 5000 school children annually, talking about food and the countryside, how to look after the countryside and how farming and humans have shaped the land we see today. Everyone loves a story, and a story that comes from the history of our English countryside is always going to be popular.
Availability – Walks are most enjoyable during the summer time. If your group, society or organisation would like a summer evening’s outing, then why not contact me. I have been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB cleared) and am qualified through the Countryside Education Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS)