Associate, rural surveyor and valuer Paul Ashton celebrates 20 years with Greenslade Taylor Hunt this month.

Paul began his career at Highbridge Market as the principal sheep auctioneer following a degree at the Royal Agricultural University. In 2008 he made the move to the purpose-built Sedgemoor Auction Centre, Junction 24, North Petherton.

The centre took a year to build and replaced livestock markets at Highbridge and Taunton.

“It was very daunting at first, however, it has proven to be a huge success and I am very proud to be part of aiding this success, “said Paul.

He juggles auctioneering with work as a rural surveyor and valuer.

“A job as a rural surveyor can be very rewarding and the element that I love is that no two days are ever the same,“ explained Paul.

“I love the auctioneering side of my job and conversing with the wide range of different characters that attend the market, however the role at times can be extremely stressful, particularly on a very busy day, when we run out of pens!” he added.

Livestock comes from all over the country to be sold at Sedgemoor, which has acquired an enviable national reputation for its quality. Its easy accessibility to M5 is another driver in its popularity and success.

“The sheep trade remains extremely strong at present. The finished lambs are averaging nearly £1 per kilo (£45/head) dearer than the same week last year, cull ewe prices are very strong and the breeding ewe trade has started the season to a flier. Sheep farmers are in the main very happy at present and it is a pleasure to sell their stock on their behalf, “ continued Paul.

However selling sheep is not always an easy enterprise.

“The sheep trade has at times been very challenging and I have experienced many occasions when trying to sell sheep to buyers who really do not want to buy them,” said Paul.

However, he loves his work and could not imagine another career could provide him with the sheer diversity, challenges and variety of his chosen path.

In his spare time Paul enjoys kayaking, bike rides and a good Western.