FIRE crews sent to battle a farm blaze in the early hours of Sunday morning first had to find how to get into the isolated spot and then how to get a pump to the buildings in the freezing cold and snowy conditions.

Devizes retained station commander Pip Flowers said: "We were sent to the outbuilding fire in Rowde but the exact location was unknown.

"We could see the smoke and flames from the road but at first we couldn't find an entrance. When we did it was obvious we were not going to get a fire engine down the narrow track. The conditions were bad as it was freezing cold and there was still a lot of snow."

Four firefighters had to carry a portable pump for about half a mile to the site near Rowdeford School just after 3am and luckily were able to use water from a stream.

Propane cylinders had to be removed from in and around the buildings and at first there were fears for cattle kept in buildings nearby but the crews from Devizes and Melksham managed to get the fire under control and they did not need to be moved.

But the outbuildings suffered severe damage and most of the contents were destroyed.

Mr Flowers said: "The animals stayed calm and we decided it was safest to leave them where they were.

When owner Mike Smith arrived on Sunday morning to feed his animals he was shocked and upset by the scene. He said: "There was a lot of personal stuff in the buildings as well as tools and other things.

"I would like to thank the fire service for what they did."

Mr Smith said: "I live about a mile and half away and had no idea about the fire until I turned up in the morning. It was a shock to find it all. I have lost a lot of stuff. But the animals were fine. They were away from the outbuildings."

The small holding was originally run by Mr Smith's father for about 50 years.

Another firefighter who attended said: "After a 600 meter walk we were greeted with these sights along with multiple livestock and a gas cylinder venting and another close by.

"Luckily a stream running along side gave us a water source to extinguish the flames using our Light Portable Pump."