AFTER 75 years of farming experience, a Wiveliscombe farmer has written his first book telling his life story.

Wesley Wyatt, 90, is one of the most respected farmers in the country, having won awards for both his farming and conservation work.

He has written an autobiography detailing his story of a lifetime in farming named ‘God Speed the Plough’, which is being published on April 18.

Mr Wyatt reflects on his career in farming across seven decades, detailing the many trials and tribulations he faced, including two agricultural revolutions and the post-war drive for production, followed by the movement of the 1980s and beyond to put nature back into farming.

His career thus both spans and reflects a period of enormous change in farming and rural life more generally.

After taking over his family’s farm in Wiveliscombe in 1948 at just 17 years of age, Mr Wyatt transformed the farm from an old-fashioned mix of corn and beef into one of the most successful farming businesses in Somerset.

Mr Wyatt survived all manner of trials and tribulations along the way, including the collapse of his sheep shed in the great blizzard of 1978, before easing back and turning to conservation in his later years.

He was brought up in a strict Methodist household, developing an ‘upright but outgoing’ personality which led him into other avenues such as golf, local politics, and his beloved Old Tauntonians.

The book tells stories such as that of his Uncle Henry, a German hairdresser who married his Aunt Nell on the day before Britain declared war on the Kaiser in 1914 and was subsequently interned on the Isle of Man.

Then there is ‘George’, a Kenyan nurse who was taken in by his parents and became part of the family before a long and distinguished career in the Army.

And there is a tale of how Mr Wyatt was given the task of burning down a church.

It all makes for a life story which is as rich as it is compelling, and illustrated by more than 40 photographs.

Mr Wyatt’s endeavours were as unpredictable as they were fascinating, and can be found through, run by writer and broadcaster, and campaigner Anthony Gibson, and many other bookshops.

Mr Wyatt said: “I was persuaded by Anthony that I had a story which was about my business experiences in farming which was worth telling.

“It was my first and more certainly my last book. It was not difficult to write, but I was massively helped by Anthony.

“I have no idea how the book will be received, but no doubt opinions will be expressed.

“There definitely appears to be considerable interest by my old School, Taunton. Sadly, most of my contemporaries have turned their toes up.”

A launch event for the book, which is published by Charlcombe Books, was being held in Wiveliscombe Rugby Club at 11 am on Tuesday, April 18.