A Stratton Smallholder

Modern Holsworthy agricultural show

Told to Dawn by John Going, 94:


I sold my Stratton smallholding to a neighbour and then he split it up. It was in a ring fence, at the Town’s End side of Stratton. Stratton was a nice little place. That’s one of the things that attracted me to it. When I came here, the sun was shining, the grass was green, it was warm, and people were tearing about with tractors. I was in Stratton for 30 odd years.

Stratton was good. All I had to do was walk from the end of the road and there was the town. Everything was still rationed. There were 4 grocers, 2 shoemakers, a chemist opposite the old surgery, an ironmonger’s, a self-contained unit, 2 butchers almost opposite each other, 3 pubs, a tailor’s. Fewer cars than we have now which was an advantage. I went to the shoe shop near the junction because he’d fought on the same battlefield as my uncle. Bissets?

Stratton had a good cattle market but Holsworthy was rather better though the same auctioneer did both. In the early stages when I came here, government suppliers were buying beef for the army. There was good competition and prices.

I left farming because I was bloody-minded. There was a lot of pressure from changes of government. They wanted loads and loads of cheap food, as much as they could get. People wanted it for nothing. There was a fresh lot of rules with each government from the Ministry of Agriculture. I got pushed into a corner and decided to get rid of it. I was sad to get rid of the cattle as I’d been breeding consistently. I was hot-headed at the time but I was married by then and we’d got three kids (I married a widow with 2 children) and they needed feeding.

Very seldom did I go to Bude. Bude was a foreign country, really.  I had friends in Bude but it was very small then, 4000 or so people altogether. There was banter between Stratton and Bude, it was so intertwined. I’d walk across Broadclose Farm via Pathfields. I used to walk to Bude. There were always skylarks over Broadclose. The Holsworthy & Stratton Agricultural Association had their first postwar agricultural show on Broadclose.

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