Buying your own dairy farm could dramatically alter your lifestyle. But be prepared to say goodbye to lie-ins.
Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys found out for himself that dairy farming isn't as easy as it looks. Some 30 years ago, lured by life on the farm, he bought 134 acres of farmland in West Wales, some semi-derelict buildings, clapped out machinery, and 100 cows.
As he wrote in The Times recently, "It was the third time I found myself lying on the concrete floor, semiconscious and covered in dung, having been kicked clear across the stable by an unhappy cow, that I seriously began to ask myself why I'd bought a dairy farm in the first place."
Humphrys eventually sold the working part of the farm, holding onto the cottage and the prettiest parts of the land, which includes the stream and the woodland.
But though Humphrys may be resigned to getting his milk from the supermarket like the rest of us, the market for dairy farms is on the rise.
Andrew Dodds, land agent at Stags in Exeter says, "A lot more people are entering the sector at the moment. The returns from milk are fairly good and the price of cows has shot up."
But they're not just selling to seasoned farmers. "We do get novices buying dairy farms. As a lifestyle change it can work very well. But you need a lot of energy - it's very hard work, it's early mornings, and there's never a day off because the cows always need milking."
But if you don't want to be too hands on you can, as many people do, employ a herdsman but retain control of the business side of the farm.
A modern, fully functioning dairy market is not cheap. "Not many dairy farms actually come to the market, and when they do they're at the high end of the scale," warns Andrew.
Staggs in Exeter is currently selling Western Farm, a working dairy in Tiverton, which comes with six-bed period farmhouse and 299 acres for £1,980,000.
Of course, if you can't see yourself in the milking parlour, there's nothing to stop you buying a dairy farm, selling off the cows and equipment, and perhaps renting out the land to local farmers.
These days a livestock and arable farm, Ty Mawr was a dairy farm until the foot and mouth crisis struck. "Now they've got pigs, cows and sheep and 197 acres," says Nigel.
"There's been huge interest in the land because it's in bits all around the village and lots of people would like to buy the pieces adjacent to their gardens.
"We've also had interest in the farm from people from the city who want to get out, who just want a nice place to live. And there was one person who thought it would be a good boutique hotel, particularly as we have the Hay-on-Wye Festival here."
But, says Nigel, the isolation can be a culture shock for newcomers. "A lot of people who move out of the city are used to having neighbours just across the road and moving to an isolated property is not always the best idea."
The answer can often be to convert the numerous stone and timber outbuildings that come with an old farm, and create a little residential complex. But local planning officers are reluctant to agree to this.
"The government says that former agricultural buildings ought to be offered first of all as holiday accommodation, or places of work, such as craft workshops.
"So the owners have to offer them for sale as such for a certain period - though it doesn't seem that they're often taken up - and, if no one's interested, the planners will look at allowing conversion for residential purposes."
If you still fancy the idea of your own livestock, there are alternatives to cattle.
David Davies from Morgan & Davies in Lampeter is offering a goat dairy in Llandeilo, Camarthenshire, for sale for £520,000.
"Dairy farming is big business in comparison, much more industrial," says David. "If you're going to have less than 200 cows its not really viable. So a lot of people have gone with goats. You need a lot less space, and it's also less regulated – you don't have milk quota, and it's not as much work as dairy.
"It often begins as a hobby. People buy property with land for the lifestyle, say around 50 acres, and they don't know what to do with it, so they get some goats. Then the goats start breeding, and it flourishes, and the farm grows by default.
"There are some people who do it very well and make money out of it. And the popularity of farmers' markets has given them a good outlet for the produce."
And it's not just goats that are proving popular. "You'll find a lot of alpacas and llamas too. I went to a property recently and there must've been about 50 donkeys there. And I was told that mares and foals are making about £1,200 a pair at the moment.
"But it's not really about the money. It's definitely a lifestyle decision."
Though Humphrys may be resigned to getting his milk from the supermarket like the rest of us, the market for dairy farms is on the rise.