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A family affair

10/04/2018

Three generations of the Taylor family live and work side by side on the beautiful 480-hectare Swalcliffe Estate in Oxfordshire, combining their individual skills and passions in a diverse, thriving, award-winning operation that has family values at its heart.

To mark this year’s National Siblings Day (10th April 2018 #NationalSiblingsDay) we shine a light on the work and achievements of the Taylor family, who demonstrate the value of effective future planning and strong family values.

Swalcliffe Grange has been a working farm for more than a century. Now in its fourth generation of Taylors, 100 acres was originally owned by Mike Taylor’s grandfather, a tenant of 400 acres on the Swalcliffe Park Estate.

With its roots firmly in traditional livestock, grassland and arable farming, Mike farmed alongside his father up until 1970, when he and his parents bought the farm.

Mike and Barbara are exceptional visionaries and proof that effective future planning, balanced alongside a focus on family values and relationships, really does work.

By playing to the strengths of each member of their family, traditional and emerging farming practices work hand in hand for long term sustainability.

Succeeding at succession

Whilst Mike and Barbara’s children James, Richard and Victoria were growing up at Swalcliffe in the 1980s and 1990s, they always had in mind the future of the estate, farm and their children, nurturing the individual passions, interests and abilities of each of their offspring.

From a young age, Richard was always passionate about animals and farming. Particularly in his teenage years, horses became his number one interest, which led him to create and build cross country courses. Working in partnership with internationally renowned course designer David Evans, Richard has built cross country courses all over the world, including at the Beijing Olympics.

His brother James, Mike and Barbara’s eldest son, excelled at school and sport, and was keen to spread his wings. He graduated with a business degree and pursued a city-based career, but soon realized the relevance for his business acumen at the family farm, and so returned to Swalcliffe to help manage and develop day to day operations.

Victoria carved a name for herself as a professional chef. In 2007, she returned to Swalcliffe and launched her own business, Miss T Catering, which she runs from Grange Farm, catering for events of all sizes, from intimate dinner parties to weddings and corporate events, including Swalcliffe’s programme of equine events.

New beginnings

As the Taylor family began to grow, with both James and Richard getting married and having children, Mike and Barbara looked to put their future plans in action, with land, property and succession planning advice from Lodders’ Rod Bird.

Parcels of land at Swalcliffe were divided up and transferred to Richard and James, with the aim of giving them the resource and opportunity to further develop their businesses.

Mike and Barbara relocated to a new home half a mile from Grange Farmhouse, and Richard and his wife Sarah moved into Swalcliffe Grange, which has become the engine room for the equine business, livery yard, and packed programme of hunter trials, British Eventing and British Riding Club Horse Trials and championships.

James, his wife Emma, and their children Maxwell and Olivia, moved into Stourwell Barn, from where they manage the arable farming activities, and have launched Swalcliffe’s newest venture, Stour Energy.

Handing over the baton

The Taylor family is keeping an eye on the next generation, with James and Emma’s son Maxwell already showing a keen interest in farming.

With the support of a warm, capable and talented family, Swalcliffe’s success and innovation are set to continue for generations to come.

Lodders Life

This feature was first published in Issue 5 of Lodders Life. To read the full story, and learn more about the Taylors’ seven businesses, see https://www.lodders.co.uk/lodders-life-issue-5/ page 10 to 13.

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This feature was first published in Issue 5 of Lodders Life. To read the full story, and learn more about the Taylors’ seven businesses, see https://www.lodders.co.uk/lodders-life-issue-5/ page 10 to 13.