Awnells Farm came into the Powell family when Rupert Powell (David Powell’s father) bought the farm in 1922 for £4,500 after having rented for two years previous. Rupert, the youngest of 13 children, first discovered Awnells Farm on horseback when travelling past on a regular journey to collect coal (to fuel the families’ stream engine for drying hops) from Mitcheldean. The journey would take him past Awnells and local pubs on the way.

In the early days the Powell’s kept sheep and chickens, as well as cattle. Some of the fields were arable for growing root crops such as swedes and mangolds, and more than 40% of the farm was planted with orchards for perry and cider. Hereford cattle were brought into the Powell family at the start of the 1840’s when John Sparkman from Little Marcle gifted David’s grandparents with a Hereford Heifer for their wedding present. This was the first of the Hereford family lineage within the Powell family, the descendant herd of which now lives at Awnells. David’s father brought the cattle family to Awnells when he moved onto the farm and was later joined by David’s Mother, Ethel when they were married in the 1930’s. Pre-wedding, Ethel worked as a governess in Frankfurt, Germany before returning to Tewksbury in 1928 when she met David’s father and later joined him at Awnells.

David arrived at 4am in Gloucester and has been an early riser ever since birth. He started nursery in Ledbury in the years preceding the second world war. One of David’s earliest memories of Awnells farm was when the chicken, Hettie, took a liking to David’s pram and would often lay her eggs in it when it wasn’t in use. She managed to seek out the pram wherever its location.

Aged seven, David joined an school in Upton Bishop where he boarded during the week and cycle seven miles back for the weekends. Towards the end of the war, the school moved back to Birmingham where it had been evacuated from and David joined Dowys Hall in Llanidloes, Wales where he became head boy. From this time in his life, he particularly recalls the cold winter of 1946-47 when he was at school in Llanidloes, Wales. Snowstorms were fatal for flocks of sheep that year and the shocking image of dead sheep being washed off the hillside as the snow began to melt has stuck vividly in his mind for decades. He says the first thing that people saw were the feet of frozen sheep as the snow melted away.

David didn’t escape from farming even when at school. In Sherborn, Cotswolds, he spent his time looking after chickens on the school farm. On return from school for the holidays he took care of the horses – much to his enjoyment – David would spend his teenage years riding through the village on horseback and up to May Hill. His passion for horses is expressed in a poem his great aunt wrote after her visit to Awnells when David was nine; “His one desire to own a horse, ‘chip’ of true ‘Yeoman’ stock of course.”

At the end of the 1930s Rupert and Ethel started a guest house for additional income. Towards the start of the war, people from cities would come to the countryside to escape bombing. Awnells was very popular among visitors, sometimes hosting 16 people at a time where Ethel would provide four meals a day. Half a kilometre west of Awnells, soldiers would stay at Homme house and walk across the footpath (since gone) and visit their wives or girlfriends who would be staying in the Powell guest house.  

Awnells farm throughout the war years was a busy hub with visitors coming far and wide, people would be found in the mornings asleep in the hay barn after a long journey to escape the danger in London at the time. Awnells farm remains a successful working farm today and a popular site for visitors to enjoy.