Blakewell Fisheries December 2020

Blakewell December 2020


In early December 2020, we were invited to spend a morning with Rich and John Nickel at their family run fish farm @blakewellfish situated in a stunning valley not far from the historic market town of Barnstaple, North Devon.

Whilst we can all agree wild is often better, we also need to acknowledge that we live on a highly populated island, and our wild places are unfortunately in decline.  Of course, if you know where to look and are willing to explore, we still have many wild corners you can indulge your hunter gatherer instinct that flows through some of us.  As a species, humans have come a long way from our cave man exploits in a relatively short space of time learning to farm and adapt practices over thousands of years of trial and error.

Farming runs deep in our veins here in Devon and we have a proud heritage of developing practices and improving animal welfare.  It would be ignorant to neglect the fact that there are rouges who do not follow good principles of farming practice, however, whilst they tarnish a lot of the good work done by the majority, it is easy to focus on the negatives in life so let us return the focus back to the good guys. 

Rich and John care deeply about the product they produce and were proud to show us some of their lovely looking trout during our visit which compares very closely to their wild counterparts.  Blakewell does have a magic ingredient which nourishes the fish and that is the fresh water flowing down from Exmoor.  There is some science involved with this type of farming and Rich and John have regular contact with the environment agency who monitor the water quality that flows in and out of the farm.  As with many farming practices, science can only take you so far and there is an art involved in making sure the fish remain healthy and stress free.  This comes with experience and time in honing your craft.

In a recent article by Devon Life magazine (December 2020), John was quoted saying “You need to understand and appreciate the science of nature, by doing this you develop happy fish resulting in a quality tasting product” John acknowledged the fact that you need to work with mother nature, not to become arrogant and to work with the elements you have at your disposal.  In summary, John describes the process as “A gentle cog that turns through the seasons; you can’t speed it up or manipulate it”

If we could all take a little bit of Johns Zen like advice, I think we can all agree the world would more than likely have better harmony than it currently does.

Here at Gallox we try to find harmony with the apparel we produce.  Whilst we are still in our infancy stages, we are drawing on experiences and best practice from different industries which we hope can be instilled into our business.  John and Rich choose to wear Gallox apparel as our ethics are closely aligned, they know when they buy our products, they get a quality product which they can rely on for many years to come.   The majority of our garments are made in the United Kingdom. We strive to support British manufacturing, to give that further context, all our premium apparel is made in Devon. 

Working on the farm is demanding and means they must brace the wild British elements every day.  This will take its toll on all clothing (ours included). Fortunately, we have a unique selling point which we hope stands us above our competitors.  All our premium apparel is included in our three years free fixing service, meaning our products will be up to the tasks that Rich and John can throw at them.  If they do end up getting snagged, ripped, or caught during their daily errands they just need to send them back to us and we will repair them free of charge.  Check out our free fixing service page on the website for further information on this service.