Our main herd is of “Red Rubies” – the traditional cattle of North Devon. These are a hardy race of cattle with chestnut red coats whose history goes back many centuries. It is an established fact, for example, that the Pilgrim Fathers took red Devon cattle with them to America.
The Devon Red Ruby thrives on the grassland meadows of North Devon. Food expert, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall writes, “They produce the best beef I’ve ever tasted.”
The pedigree Top Meadow herd is a suckler herd which means that the calves stay with their mothers for 6-8 months and are slowly reared on natural grassland. As The River Cottage Cookbook says, “Grass fed beef not only has a better taste and texture, it’s better for you as well.”
Our family has been breeding Red Ruby Devons at least since the end of the nineteenth century when Great Grandfather John Nichols farmed at Langtree. We have an early photograph of him at Great Torrington market examining a fine Devon bullock.