The Green at Netherton Farm – History

The Green by Moira McInnes

My husband Mike and I and I bought the buildings and some land at Netherton Farm from Michael and Margaret Horrell in 2008. The traditional farm buildings had been operating as a dairy farm and producing the famous Yarg cheese. We converted the buildings into contemporary holiday accommodation achieving 5 Star Gold rating along the way. In parallel, the grounds were landscaped and we opened to our first guests in August 2010. We are continuing to enjoy the adventure and are continually improving what The Green has to offer. Throughout our time at The Green we have enjoyed tremendous support from our neighbours The Horrells, Margaret and Michael and Ian and Catherine.

We are often asked about the history of the place and we hope you enjoy the overview below that Michael has written for us.

Netherton Farm by Michael Horrell

Before it became The Green in 2008, Netherton had been the home base of the Horrells’ growing farm enterprise for 4 generations over a period of about a century.

They started off with 90 acres at Netherton itself and slowly they acquired a number of quite small, family sized holdings which then amalgamated as they became vacant, and over the years the crops, livestock, staff and equipment evolved.

Douglas Horrell, the 3rd generation, survived the depression of the 1930’s; and the need to produce every possible bite of food in WW2 provided the foundation, with his newly graduated son Michael, for a rapid post-war technical and market development lasting until the era of surpluses in the ‘70’s, when it resulted in a treadmill effect on the farmers, exacerbated in this case by the effects of Bovine TB and BSE (“Mad Cow Disease”).

The fruits of science and engineering had been eagerly embraced for greater yields and efficiency, shown in steps of about a generation at a time. The final total was 500 acres under 3 landlords, chiefly the Duchy of Cornwall. There were 2 herds of milking cows, with young cattle making up 500 animals in all. All the land was devoted to their feeding and grazing needs.

Milk quotas and other restraining policies then led the family to turn to milk processing rather than further farming expansion, and Netherton became the home of the award-winning nettle-coated Cornish Yarg cheese. Together with a visitor centre for the interest of the public, the total staff grew to about 30 in the summer peak – much the same as it would once have been in those historical farmlets – while the raw materials from the land were produced by a highly capitalised and experienced team of only 3.

With the next generation not wanting to take over, the business was progressively divested of its cattle, equipment and other land, until the farmstead at Netherton became the site of The Green in 2007. So the 4th and last generation of Horrells, in their semi-retirement, now manage the surrounding pastures in “dog-and-stick” style with cattle and sheep, and Cornish Yarg continues to flourish in the hands of a younger farming family in West Cornwall.