About Us

Established Farm Practice

We are a long established, proudly independent practice providing high quality, personal and individually tailored care to all types of farm within our local community. Our team of dedicated farm vets between them offer a huge wealth of experience combined with youthful new ideas.

On-site Facilities and Services

Onsite laboratory

  • Microscopic examination of samples such as skin scrapes (looking for mites or other ectoparasites)
  • Fluke egg faecal testing
  • Lungworm larval faecal testing
  • State-of the art Oocyst Worm Egg Counting machine, delivering accurate, repeatable + fast results daily

Hospitalisation pens

  • Suitable for calves, sheep, lambs, and camelids
  • Situated in our Launceston branch and most frequently used to help re-hydrate scouring calves, via intra-venous fluid therapy

Newly renovated surgery

  • Boasting a large and purpose-built meeting room to host farming discussion groups and external speakers
  • Capacity for our growing team of vets and support staff – ensuring a safe and high ratio of vets to farms under our care

Our Range of Species Covered

Our farm team treat a wide range of production animals and smallholders’ stock. This includes:

Dairy

  • dedicated routine vets for your farm, a grass-based system discussion group, training and vet tech services

Beef

  • our established Beef Club offers support and learning whilst keeping our members up to date with the latest industry developments

Sheep

  • Our established flock club and sheep consultancy service ensures your flock (no matter what size) will receive the best care
  • Part of the South-West Initiative for Sheep Health
  • Involved in cutting edge research in the ovine sector

Camelids

  • Outstanding and tailored routine and emergency care, please see our ‘Services’ section for further details

Pigs

  • Our experienced team often deal with pigs in a small holder setting, from farrowing to management, we are here to support you and your animals

Goats

  • We regularly perform kid disbudding and castrations, in addition to supplying routine husbandry and care advice
  • Tailored worming advice + grazing management planning are crucial for keeping your goats healthy – our in house laboratory means we can get worm egg counts back quickly and reliably

Poultry

  • Please note: our farm team does not currently include any large-scale poultry experts. Small holders are referred to our Small Animal team to help with emergencies or any unwell fowl.

Proudly Independent

Being an ‘independent practice’ means Castle Vets is owned by Vets that work here, not by a corporation. While independent veterinary practices accounted for 89% of the UK industry in 2013, this share had fallen to less than half (45%) by 2021, primarily due to independent practices being bought by corporate groups. At time of writing in 2023, only two farm practices in Cornwall and Devon are independently owned. (1)

Working with an independent veterinary group means:

  • the business is owned by the vets you are working with – the partners have ultimate control and say over everything we deliver
  • we are able to tailor our services freely to you, with no imposed overarching guidelines or sales targets
  • outside of normal working hours, you will always get through to one of our practice’s on call vets for emergency calls
  • our vets are not on any pay-by-service schemes, meaning you know you’re receiving honest and impartial advice at all times
  • the practice partners are truly passionate about delivering the best care for your farm or smallholding (it is their name on the door!)
  • Castle has a high retention of experienced vets, due in part to personal connections within the business – Castle Vets’ surgeons have over 150 years of combined experience

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6269634fe90e0746ca7e558f/A._Decision_Summary.pdf

Meet Our Farm Vets

Tim Bebbington

Director

BVet Med, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Tim qualified way back in 1989 and has worked in the Southwest ever since. He joined the practice in 1994.

He is married to Jane and has 3 sons. He has served as a director of the Moredun Foundation and president of the Sheep Veterinary Society. Recently more of his time has been spent on sheep advisory work and he is a member of the Register of Sheep Advisors.

Helen Howgill

Director

BVet Med, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Helen qualified in 1994 and joined Castle Veterinary Group later that year. Helen now works on the farm animal side of the practice.

Bekky Hobbs

Director

RVN, BVSc, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Bekky joined our farm veterinary team in September 2016 after graduating from Bristol University in June 2016 and spending 5 weeks in New Zealand before starting work.

Prior to going to vet school Bekky worked for many years as a registered veterinary nurse in a mixed practice in Nottinghamshire and decided during vet school that farm was her main area of interest.

In her spare time Bekky enjoys walking her Cocker Spaniel Conker, spending time with family, swimming and competing at motocross. She is also the creator of the most amazing cupcakes!

Katherine Cox

Farm Vet

BVet Med, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Katherine joined us in October 2012.

Katherine works within our Farm Animal team of Vets and runs our popular monthly grass meetings for Dairy Clients.

Outside work she will be found walking her Lab, Ozzy.

Richard Hillman

Farm Vet

MA VetMB, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Richard graduated from Cambridge in 1984. After a year in Wales he joined Luxstowe vets in Liskeard and became a director.

When Luxstowe gave up their farm work in May 2017, Richard joined the Castle Vets farm veterinary team.

Outside of work he enjoys golf, walking the dogs and is an avid football fan, especially Chelsea!

Roger Serres

Farm Vet

MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Roger qualified in Barcelona in 2001 and came to the UK later that year. He has worked as a farm vet in Herefordshire and Devon before joining our team in January 2020. His main interests are anything and everything to do with cattle but he does not shy away from sheep, goats, pigs or alpacas/lamas. Outside of work he likes to tinker with electronic boards and old computers.

Sarah Caldwell

Farm Vet

BSc (Hons) BVSc, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Sarah joined Castle Vets in April 2020. She returned to her roots in Cornwall in 2012 to work as a farm vet having completed a degree in Animal Science, at Nottingham University, and subsequently a Veterinary degree at The University of Liverpool.

Her interests are infectious disease, fertility and youngstock health and development. Sarah enjoys conducting hands-on workshops for farmers to share knowledge. Sarah has also developed a niche for Camelid medicine, which is internationally recognised.

In her spare time, she can be found at home with her pedigree Lleyn flock and cows or in the sea!

Lucy Giles

Farm Vet

BVMS (Hons) MRCVS PGCert, VetEd
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Lucy has worked at Castle Vets since 2020, having worked for a mixed practice in Staffordshire previously, after completing a wildlife internship in South Africa. Before starting with us, she also gained a Postgrad Certificate in Veterinary Education and is currently studying with the University of Liverpool to become an Advanced Veterinary Practitioner, focusing on sheep health. Lucy has a keen interest in all aspects of on farm training and development, and currently oversees our farmer training events, as well as flock and beef clubs. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found rambling around the coast with her spaniel or surfing.

Andrew Eve

Farm Vet

BVetMed, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Andy graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2014. He worked in a mixed practice in Dorset for two and a half years, before moving to New Zealand where he worked for eighteen months on the South Island also at a mixed practice. Since returning to the UK in 2018 he has worked as a locum large animal vet in the South West and Wales. Having grown up in Barnstaple, Andy is now returning to his roots and enjoying being back permanently in this part of the country. In his spare time he enjoys surfing, cycling and running.

Charlotte Bain

Farm Vet

BVMSci, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Charlotte graduated from the University of Surrey in 2022 and joined the Castle Vets team as a large animal vet, hoping to make the most of the wide variety of livestock the practice treats. She has a particular interest in sheep, with many springs spent lambing Swaledales in the Pennines.

Having lived in Falmouth previously, she is enjoying her return to Cornwall, and can be found in her spare time exploring the stunning beaches, paddleboarding up the rivers or hiking across the moors.

Natalie Afford

Farm Vet

BVetMed, MRCVS
Farm Veterinary Surgeon

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Natalie moved down to Cornwall from Hertfordshire after graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in 2023. Prior to this she studied Bsc Bioveterinary Science at the Royal College.

Nat enjoys spending her free time outdoors, and when she manages to get away she loves to scuba dive.

Meet Our TB Testers & Veterinary Technicians

Heather Parr

TB Tester

Approved TB Tester

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Heather joined the farm team in June 2022 as a Approved TB Tester.

Chloe Crocker

TB Tester

Approved TB Tester

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Tori Sleep

TB Tester

Approved TB Tester

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Ellen Hoare

Veterinary Technician & Reception

Veterinary Technician & Farm Animal Receptionist

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Ellen joined the farm reception team in May 2021 and soon after gained her qualifications as an Approved TB Tester and RoMS accredited mobility scorer. She now works as a farm receptionist and veterinary technician.

Outside of work she can be found on the home farm, milking cows or feeding calves.

Meet Our Farm Support Staff

Tammy

Practice Manager

Practice Manager

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Tammy moved to Devon in June 2007 with her son, Oliver and 2 dogs, Annie and Henry. Tammy soon acquired a cat named Gismo to add to her family.

Tammy’s interests outside of work are looking after her horses. She is also a keen walker and enjoys competing with her 2 dogs, Annie and Henry at agility and competitive obedience.

Carmen

Liskeard Branch Manager

Liskeard Branch Manager

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In her spare time (when she is not working at festivals) Carmen loves to spend time with her family, going to the beach, eating out and growing her plant collection.

Pearl

Farm Department Manager

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Pearl joined Castle Vets in September 2023.  Coming from a farming background, Pearl has worked mainly within the agricultural and community sector.  Pearl has 3 dogs  ‘Ronnie’ a Jack Russell and ‘Ruby and Lucy’ who are working Spaniels.

Karen

Accounts

Senior Accounts Assistant

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Karen joined the accounts team in July 2022. Karen has recently relocated to the area and likes nothing more than exploring the countryside. She is also a massive Southampton football supporter and a recent follower of the Cornish All Blacks.

Lynda

Accounts

Accounts Assistant

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Lynda joined Castle Veterinary Group in January 2021 as an Accounts assistant.

Outside of work she is kept busy helping her 2 sons with their small beef suckler herd & flock of commercial sheep. She enjoys baking & also gardening when time & the weather allows.

Sue

Accounts

Accounts Assistant

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Sue joined in July 2022 as our Accounts Assistant. In her spare time, Sue enjoys hiking on the moors with her husband and rescue spaniel Hendrix, sometimes wild camping along the way. She also tries to get away in the UK as often as possible in their self-built campervan.

Gardening, DIY and crafts are also on her list of hobbies to keep her busy.

Hayley

Admin

RVN – Farm Clinical/Admin Assistant

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Hayley joined the practice in May 2021 as our dedicated farm animal veterinary nurse. She has 16 years nursing experience. When Hayley isn’t at work, she is on the family farm, walking Dartmoor and looking after her son.

Jo

Reception

Farm Reception Manager

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Jo joined the practice in October 2009 and has since qualified as a farm SQP, enabling her to dispense wormers and vaccines.

She has two Staffies who keep her busy at the weekends. In her spare time Jo enjoys the outdoors and travelling abroad

Sami

Reception

Farm Animal Receptionist

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Sami joined Castle Veterinary Group in June 2008 and has since qualified as a farm SQP, enabling her to prescribe wormers and vaccines.

As well as working on large animal reception, Sami is also our Lab Technician. Her time is split between processing TB tests and dealing with large animal samples in our in-house laboratory.

Catherine

Reception

Farm Animal Receptionist

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Catherine joined the farm reception team in July 2022. When she’s not at work Catherine enjoys spending her time training her sheepdog Buster as well as building her small flock of sheep.

Nikki

Reception

Farm Animal Receptionist

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Nikki joined our farm reception team in June 2017.

Outside of work, Nikki is kept busy with her 2 children, Charlie & Heidi and her 2 dogs Basil & Mouse.

Nikki loves being outside, particularly walking and horse riding. In her spare time she also helps out on her parents beef & sheep farm.

Charlotte

Reception

Farm Animal Receptionist

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Charlotte joined the farm team in November 2020. Aswell as being on farm reception, she processes TB tests and enjoys spending time in the lab.

When Charlotte’s not in the vets, she works at home on her family’s beef, sheep and arable farm.

Charisse

Reception

Farm Animal Receptionist

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Charisse is an active member of Liskeard young farmers club and in her spare time she enjoys being at home on her family beef and sheep farm.

She also enjoys showing her cattle at various different shows.

Jeff

Support Staff

Practice Maintenance

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Jeff joined us in April 2018 and has been keeping himself very busy sprucing up the car park and fixing things around the building! You may also see him out on farm from time to time as he is called upon to deliver medicines and equipment to our vets on farm visits.

rpt

Abi Lucas

Admin

Apprentice

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Abi joined our farm reception team in April 2023 whilst completing her Business Admin level 3 apprenticeship.

When she isn’t at work, she enjoys helping on her family’s sheep farm, socialising with her friends and going to young farmers.

Lezley

Maintenance

Cleaner

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Lezley joined the practice in June after a long period of being a stay-at-home mum to her two daughters.

Lezley loves all kinds of animals especially dogs and cats and they have been a huge part of her life from an early age.

When she is not working, Lezley enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters, taking their lovable Labrador Ty out to explore the coast and countryside.

Beth

Admin

Nurses & Farm Assistant

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Beth joined the team at Castle Vets in 2022, helping the small animal nursing team. She enjoys helping out on her family farm, and spending time with her six dogs.

Lilly

Admin

Nurses & Farm Assistant

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Lilly joined the small animal team assisting the nurses in 2021. Lilly lives on her family farm with her dog Loco. She also has her own flock of sheep. When she isn’t helping out on the farm, she enjoys playing rugby & cricket.

The History of the Castle Veterinary Group

140 Years of Service

The practice came into being with the qualification as a veterinary surgeon of Charles Abraham Parsons, son of a Werrington blacksmith. Until that point “horse doctoring” and treatment of farm livestock was only provided for locally by blacksmiths or patent medicine suppliers. The exact date of his qualifying is not known but is thought to be in the early 1880’s.

The practice came into being with the qualification as a veterinary surgeon of Charles Abraham Parsons son of a Werrington blacksmith. Until that point “horse doctoring” and treatment of farm livestock was only provided for locally by blacksmiths or patent medicine suppliers. The exact date of his qualifying is not known but is thought to be in the early 1880’s. The practice came into being with the qualification as a veterinary surgeon of Charles Abraham Parsons son of a Werrington blacksmith. Until that point “horse doctoring” and treatment of farm livestock was only provided for locally by blacksmiths or patent medicine suppliers. The exact date of his qualifying is not known but is thought to be in the early 1880’s.

In 1934 Charles Robert Parsons joined his father in the practice and after the end of the Second World War they took John David Campbell, known as “Jock”, as a partner. He had qualified at the end of the war and joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in 1945 spending some time in the Middle East. The practice by this time was shifting its emphasis from horse work to farm livestock with the blossoming of agriculture and the rise of the tractor. The name of the practice in this era was Parsons & Campbell. C.C. Parsons continued to work in the practice until the age of 85, when it is thought that he died as a result of pneumonia contracted on a frosty morning whilst attempting to replace a prolapsed uterus in a cow. Further partners joined in the 1950’s (John Mann and Alan Barraclough), and yet more in the 1960’s (David Pearson, Ian Stewart and George Sutherland). In 1973 Martin Vivian, who had worked in the practice since 1968, became a partner following the retirement of the last remaining Parsons (CRP). By now the practice consisted of 8 vets, 7 of which were partners.

With the retirement of JD Campbell at the end of 1979 the name was changed to Castle Veterinary Group

The practice premises were originally situated in the old stables adjoining the Parsons family home in Exeter Street in Launceston. Following a major extension in 1976 the practice continued to be based there, but by 1986 it was decided that new premises were needed away from the centre of the town. Over the next ten years almost every available vacant building or green field site was explored until finally, in the spring of 1996, the premises at Pennygillam were purchased. Previously these had been a fork-lift truck depot and conversion began in the autumn and was completed in March 1997. The official opening by “All Creatures Great & Small” actor Robert Hardy took place in April 1997.

In April 2003 Nigel Hicks’ practice at Bridge Cottage, Lifton was purchased and integrated in Castle Veterinary Group.

In May 2017, Castle Veterinary Group Ltd took on farm clients who were previously registered with Luxstowe Vets in Liskeard when they ceased to provide farm veterinary cover. With this came a new premises at Miller Court, Miller Business Park, Liskeard including an office, medicines collection point and lambing bay. The practice had grown to need 17 vets at this point.

In 2019, our premises at Pennygillam underwent a huge transformation. Funded by a grant from the EU, an additional three consultation rooms, new staff kitchen, offices, conference room, staff room and flat were created. This means that we are now able to offer accommodation for our on-call nurses and vets, and as we are an independent practice this is even more important as we do not outsource our out of hours services.

Castle Veterinary Group Ltd has grown over the years from a Farm Practice to now 50% Farm and 50% Small Animal. We now have a team of 20 vets, 18 veterinary nurses, and…TB testers, with a total of 74 staff.