Progression through Teamwork

Blackdown Farm Vets are an independent, farm only practice, strongly committed to providing you with a proactive and tailored service. We will strive to make your business as profitable and efficient as possible. Our experienced and local team cover East Devon, South Somerset and West Dorset.

01404 819150

Latest news

Summer Newsletter 2023

Latest News From Blackdown Farm Vets – Pneumonia Vaccination, Q Fever, Calf Accommodation, Tups, Worm resistance in sheep and more

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A fantastic opportunity has now arisen to join our independent farm animal only practice based in East Devon. We are a young highly motivated enthusiastic

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Who we are

The Blackdown Farm Vets team have a combined total of more than 80 years experience within farm animal health. All our team are either Devon Born or long established in the local community.

We aim to provide our clients with a high level of dedicated service with the intention of making your farm as profitable as possible. We believe relevant experience, combined with thorough, up to date knowledge is the key to delivering this.

Paul Neilson BA, FCA
Paul Neilson

Business Director

Paul is a Chartered Accountant who qualified in 1989 with the then Price Waterhouse in Bristol before moving into industry. He has worked at Director level since 1991 in large and small companies across multiple sectors. Paul is passionate about providing excellent business by engaging with Clients, Staff and the full Support and Supply chains.

Paul is the Business Director responsible for Governance, Finance, Commercial, Advisors, HR, Systems, Health and Safety plus anything else needing support to make the business work for our Clients’ benefit. He has held a long-term ambition of starting a practice. One of his sons and partner are small animal Vets and his other son is a lead Environmental Health Officer at Heathrow working alongside a large team of Vets protecting the UK’s Food and Animal import border.

Paul moved to East Devon in 2001 from the Isle of Man with his wife and family to their smallholding, keeping a diverse range of hens, rare breed pigs, is a keen beekeeper and has 3 dogs. Beyond this he is a Forestry Volunteer at Killerton, likes all sports and being outdoors.

Fiona Jones, Practice and Dispensary Manager at Blackdown Farm Vets
Fiona Jones

Practice Manager

Qualified in 1989 with an HND in Agriculture having also completed three years practical farming experience on Dairy farms in Kent and Gloucestershire, and lambing seasons on 1500 head flock in Powys Wales.

She then moved from the family home in Devon to Shropshire to work for an Agricultural Chemist, Hodges and Moss, as an agronomist (BASIS) and animal health advisor (SQP) qualifying in 1992. Her duties included managing the main depot for 8 years advising and selling animal medicines, wormers and vaccines, dairy chemical, minerals and proteins as well as crop protection products.

In 2000 she became the Animal Health Product Manager for the Hutchinsons group managing and leading the animal health business within the company.

Returning home in 2014 to be closer to the family in East Devon she joined Coombefield Vets, just on maternity cover, as their RSQP and on reception and ended up staying onto become the Dispensary Manager and RAMA (RSQP) at Summerleaze.

When not working, Fo loves to spend time with her family and dogs walking by the sea (if not having to do DIY on the house!), gardening when the opportunity arises, and is totally besotted with her horses Callie and her rather large ‘companion pony’ Troy.

Samuel Bowker, Veterinary Surgeon at Blackdown Farm Vets
Samuel Bowker

Veterinary Surgeon

Sam graduated from Cambridge University in 2015. He spent 4 years in farm practice in Cheshire (as well as a 6 month stint in New Zealand) before coming back home to East Devon.

Sam splits his time practicing as a Vet and helping to run the family dairy farm, a 220 cow autumn block calving unit.

He is passionate about proactive health planning by using data to drive on-farm decision making and has a keen interest in business management having completed an extra business degree at university.

Sam’s particular interests lie in the management of block calving dairy herds, improving lameness in dairy cattle and youngstock rearing. Sam is a ROMS accredited Mobility Scorer, and BCVA TB, BVD and Johnes advisor and a Milksure Trainer.

Outside of work, Sam enjoys spending time with his young family, playing tennis and being involved with the local church.

Charlotte Birchall, Veterinary Surgeon at Blackdown Farm Vets
Charlotte Birchall

Veterinary Surgeon

Lottie graduated from Liverpool University in 2014 and went to work at a farm animal practice in Cumbria for several years, gaining a wide variety of experience in dairy, beef and sheep work. She moved in 2016 to Devon and has worked in this area ever since.

Lottie loves all aspects of farm vetting and is happy to get stuck into any job. She has a particular interest in surgery and using her skills to improve welfare and profitability on farm.

Lottie has a real passion for calf health and dairy heifer rearing and will be developing this area of service with Blackdown Farm Vets. She plans to start studying for a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in the near future. Lottie is a BCVA Johnes and BVD advisor.

Outside of work, Lottie is kept busy looking after her young family and helping to run her husbands’ local fabrication business. She’s a really keen paddleboarder and can often be seen at the beach.

Tom Laycock

BSc BVMS CertAVP (cattle) MRCVS
Veterinary Surgeon

Devon born Tom spent a year and two summers milking and working on dairy farms before gaining a degree in Agriculture in 2006. He then studied and qualified as a Vet from Glasgow University in 2011.

Tom returned south to work in East Devon and loved it so much he is still here now.

In 2016, Tom travelled with his wife to New Zealand working and improving his calving expertise and gaining knowledge in grass based dairy systems during the spring calving season. In 2017, he completed his Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Cattle.

Tom’s main areas of interest include cattle fertility, mastitis, youngstock rearing, lameness and beef. Tom has run numerous farmers meetings over past years including his highly successful ‘young farmers discussion group’. He intends to carry these on with Blackdown Farm Vet clients as well as setting up farm walks.

Tom likes walking, especially the cliffs or to anywhere with a view. He also enjoys playing saxophone and clarinet at church. Tom is married and has two young daughters.

Tom is a BCVA Johnes, BCVA BVD advisor and a Milksure trainer.

Lucy Morgan, Veterinary Surgeon at Blackdown Farm Vets
Lucy Morgan

BSc BVet Med Cert AVP (Cattle) MRCVS
Veterinary Surgeon

Lucy qualified from the Royal Veterinary College, London in 2002 having also completed an intercalated degree in Animal Agriculture. Lucy has worked in farm animal and mixed practice in the South West of England for the majority of her career. She spent 9 months working in New Zealand in a dairy cattle and sheep practice. She has worked in Australia and in dairy cattle practice in Cheshire before returning to East Devon in 2010, squeezing time in to complete her Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Cattle in 2016.

Lucy loves all aspects of being a farm animal vet from dairy herd fertility and mastitis to surgery, bull and ram fertility testing and investigating and controlling infectious diseases. She also has an interest in small ruminants.

Believing passionately that each farm is different and that the approach to improving animal health should be tailored to the farm rather than one size fits all reflects the fact that after 19 years in practice, she still loves scanning a cow in calf or a successful lambing!

Lucy spends a lot of her spare time looking after her three kids and helps out with her parents’ small flock of sheep.

Lucy is a BCVA TB, BVD and Johnes Advisor, a Milksure Trainer and a ROMS accredited mobility scorer.

Nicola Hinman, Veterinary Surgeon at Blackdown Farm Vets
Nicola Hinman

Veterinary Surgeon

Born and raised in Axminster, Nikki graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2016. After qualifying, she worked in mixed practice in Dorset before returning to East Devon for pure farm work.

Nikki loves all features of farm animal medicine but is especially interested in genetics, calf health and fertility work. Nikki is trained to implant bovine embryos and wants to develop this as a service. She would love to study for the Diploma in Bovine Reproduction in the near future.

Nikki is passionate about animal welfare and preventative medicine in farming, believing this to be critical to the future of the farming industry and that through the influence of vaccines, genetics and reducing our antibiotic usage we can increase profitability. Nikki is a BCVA Johnes advisor.

Nikki is keen to start a smallholder club to help them keep up with industry welfare standards and also create a community where they can share knowledge. She has undertaken further training in sheep, goats and camelids.

Nikki has also has an interest in zoological species having been an intern at Jersey (Fruit bats and bears) and Chester zoos plus doing a detailed project in giant anteaters at London zoo.

In her free time, Nikki can usually be found gardening, painting or helping out at home on the dairy farm with her dog, Chief. She is aiming to start her own small herd of pedigree Herefords with the help of her boyfriend Phil. She was also an active member of Axminster young farmers until she got too old.

William Goulden, Veterinary Surgeon at Blackdown Farm Vets
William Goulden

Veterinary Surgeon

Originally from Northern Ireland, Will qualified from Glasgow University in 2014 and has specialised in farm animal medicine in East Devon ever since. He is currently studying for a Diploma in Bovine Reproduction. Along with fertility management, he has a particular interest in housing and how this and the environment can be used to help reduce disease transmission.

Will is well known in the area as having been captain of Honiton Rugby Club 1st team in 2019, winning the RFU Senior Vase at Twickenham, beating Northallerton RUFC. He is currently actively involved in farming, keeping his own commercial flock of sheep which helps to give him a practical insight into the industry and flock management.

Will is a ROMS accredited mobility scorer and a BVCA Johnes and BVD advisor.

What we do

We want your business and animals to thrive. Our whole team is passionate about providing an excellent, evolving service, tailor-made for your farm (whether it be dairy, beef, sheep, goats or any other farm species) and at the very best price we can offer.

Work with us

We are passionate about providing a proactive service. We aim to develop health planning so that, not only does it satisfy regulations and inspections, but, far more importantly, we can use it to empower our clients to make decisions which improve welfare and drive profit.

Work with Blackdown Farm Vets

All our vets have lived and worked in the area for many years. Our experienced team will tailor our approach to your business to guarantee that you get as much or as little input as you require. We would be very happy to talk to you about how we might work together and your requirements as a business. Have a chat with one of our vets on 01404 819150, drop us an email or pop in for a cup of tea.

Our practice manager Fo is a qualified RAMA (SQP) advisor and has worked in the agricultural industry for over 30 years. She is on hand to share practical advice and knowledge on medicines, wormers, vaccines and anything else you might require.

We are dedicated to supplying competitively priced quality medications to ensure the health and productivity of your farm.

A member of our team will always be on the other end of the line and we will endeavour to help you as soon as we can. Call us on 01404 819150. We want you to be satisfied that you can always contact a vet when you need one.

We are investing in our IT systems to aid us in studying your farms performance to the best of our ability. Using Vet It, Interherd Plus and Uniform Agri helps us analyse the data to help you. We will develop this area as time goes on.

Blackdown Farm Vets try to provide the best service we can to our clients. We aim to continually improve and further expand what we can offer our client base. We will always be open to hearing fresh ideas and challenges given to us by our valued clients, we will always welcome feedback.

Contact us

We’re on the Blackdown Hills, between the A30 and A35.

01404 819150