End of an era at Hailstones Farm
reprinted from the Village Journal, March, 2005
When Jeanne and Mike Hawkings left Hailstones Farm at the end of January it was the end of an era.
Horace Ashman took over the tenancy of Hailstones Farm in the 1930s and his father was the instigator of supplying water to Hailstones, Goblin Coombe and Broadfield Farms.
Jeanne's parents Horace and Eve Ashman moved into Hailstones after their wedding in 1937, at first renting at £ 2 per acre. This was in the days of farming with horses, no electricity and just one water tap in the house. Cows were milked by hand and milk was collected in churns by Wrington Vale Dairy and taken to Smythe Road, Bedminster. Horace purchased the farm after the war in 1947.
During the war, Horace's family rented a large part of Wrington Warren, most of which is now part of the Airport, at 10/- per acre, which was cleared and ploughed by the War Agric Society to help with the war effort. Wheat and barley were grown and stacked, to be threshed during the winter by travelling threshing teams helped by the Women's Land Army. During this time much of the labour was provided by Italian POWs.
Horace bought his first Fordson Major tractor for £187 with steel wheels; rubber tyres were £30 extra.
During the 60's Horace had poor health and sold the dairy cows and concentrated on sheep with a few beef cattle and some pigs.
Horace and Eve retired in 1980 to Roper's Lane and sold the farm to Jeanne and Mike, who moved their dairy herd from Kenn, near Clevedon, milking them at Clevedon in the morning. Harraways then moved them to Hailstones ready for the evening milking in a brand new milking parlour, converted from the old stables, barn and cowsheds. This also included building a large covered yard and cubicles, together with silage pits and a large slurry store.
When Mike sold his milking herd in 1995, the cattle went to farmers from Cornwall to Derbyshire and Cumbria. In 1996 just before the BSE outbreak, they sold the rest of their cattle and machinery and put the farm on the market.
Because of the changing role of farming no buyers were found for the farm as a dairy unit, so most of the land was sold to local farmers.
Now, like many farms in the country, all the modern buildings have been scrapped, the farmhouse has become a large family house, the old piggery has become The Little Barn, and the milking parlour, collecting yard and maternity pens have been converted into another large family home.