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Hill Farm Dairy, Somerset, England – Dairy Goats

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In June 2015, I went to the rural idyll that is Hill Farm Dairy with Liz Earle to photograph Will and Caroline Atkinson and their herd (or trip or even tribe) of dairy goats.

Set in deepest Somerset the farm is home to about 120 milking goats. The herd comprises three different British goat breeds:  Anglo-Nubians, British Toggenburgs and British Saanens.

The herd produces two delicious goat raw milk cheeses, the soft Stawley, named after the village where the farm and dairy are located, and the harder, Wellesley.

Because the goats are milked and handled daily they are very tame; so much so it is quite difficult to photograph them as they inquisitively approach whenever one stops to get the camera out. Stand still for a moment too long and the approach turns into something more akin to an attack as the goats surround you and nibble everything that looks as though it might just be tasty: clothes, camera straps and kit even exposed skin is all there for a sharp pinch like nibble. Something else I learned about goats is that they seem to find almost everything edible, they don’t like stinging nettles. the field are covered with small clumps of them so whenever I crouched down to get a lower level shot if I wasn’t being eaten I was being stung alive. Perhaps this is what they mean when they say ‘one must suffer for one’s art’