We caught up with Tapeley Park owner Hector Christie to find out how things are changing at his Instow home and grounds.

Tapeley Park in Instow, North Devon, is turning over a new leaf for 2017, according to owner Hector Christie.

The house has been through many phases, but whether it's remembered for hosting medieval jousting battles, or its time as a 'new age' spiritual centre, 
one thing is for sure - Tapeley 
is entering 2017 in a fresh new light.

The grounds have had significant improvements, for example, the restoration of the lake, to establish it on the visitor map.

You can take in the breath-taking colours of the gardens - four-legged friends and picnics are always welcome - and enjoy the vistas of Instow and the mouth of the Taw and Torridge Estuary beyond.

Hector Christie at Tapeley Park. Picture: NDPhotosHector Christie at Tapeley Park. Picture: NDPhotos

"I have never been happier than I am now, and neither has Tapeley," said Hector.

He may be better known for his protests against GM farming, or heckling former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, but underneath that is a farmer who has a deep-rooted passion for the world we live in.

A farmer by trade, Hector has always been ahead of the times - "often completely by accident," he added - when it comes to ethical and healthy eating.

Long-ridiculed for his environmentally-conscious methods of farming, the ethos he practises at Tapeley is now somewhat 'in vogue'. And it's what the fresh new face of the venue is depending on.

"I'm a huge believer in taking risks and that if you feel something in your heart, I believe you should just go for it," says Hector. "I have always talked of the benefits of grass-fed meat, or of organic farming, and only now is it suddenly all the rage. But here, it is just what we've always done."

Tapeley has a thriving permaculture garden, established 25 years ago, and a herd of grass-fed Highland cattle.

"I feel we've got a really exciting future," says Hector.

Read a full interview with Hector in the January issue of Devon Life magazine, out now.