Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience

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New Church Farm guests

Church Farm is currently playing host to three Gloucestershire Old Spots (GOS) pigs. They are living in Home Field at present and appear to be settling in nicely.

The GOS breed is the oldest pedigree spotted pig breed in the world. It is noted for its characteristic black spots and large lop ears that hang in front of its face. The breed was originally developed in the Berkley Vale of Gloucestershire during the 1880s. The pigs would typically live in orchards and eat any left over apples.

The GOS is known for its docility, hardiness, and suitability for non-intensive systems. For further information, see

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Church Farm Tractor-Trailer Tours

Last week, a group of school children came to Church Farm to explore the farm and see where their food comes from. The first part of their day consisted of a tractor-trailer ride; we all piled in to a trailer and were driven around the farm by the farm manager. It was a great day; the Church Farm team were ready to answer any questions the children had (including what would happen if they fell down a badger set, to whether pigs go to hospital to give birth) and we stopped at various places around the farm to explain the work we do here. Afterwards, the children were given bags of animal feed and were free to explore the farm at their leisure. We really enjoyed having the children visit and look forward to welcoming other school trips here soon – after all, it’s not often we get the chance to be driven around in  a trailer!


Church Farm takes a tour.

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Wonderful Winter Radishes

The Church Farm winter radishes are positively blooming! Compared to the radishes you may typically see in supermarkets, our radishes are large and bulbous, with a black skin and crisp, white flesh.

The black radish is an annual root vegetable that is a member of the Brassica family. First cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean, it is an excellent source of vitamin C, in addition to potassium, iron and magnesium. Furthermore, consumption of the black radish is believed to help prevent infections and promote a healthy digestion system. Throughout history, the black radish has been eaten for its health benefits, whether that be in China (for pulmonary and respiratory health), India (to promote the health of the liver) or Europe (to stimulate bile function). Whatever the reason for their consumption, I think we can all agree that the health benefits of the black radish are numerous – why not pick up a bunch today?

Winter Radish_Office Pic Man

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A Mouse in the House

For the past couple of months, the Church Farm team have been working in the orchard, putting down fresh Mypex and plastic guards to prevent grass growing near trees (and therefore taking nutrients) and stop rabbits from nibbling the tree trunks. While pulling up old Mypex, we discovered a family of wild mice who have been happily living under the plastic sheeting during winter – they had even gone so far as to build themselves a nest. It’s an extraordinary move, really. Where else in the farm are you, as a mouse, likely to find a warm, protected space to build your home? We’ve now put down new Mypex, making sure not to disturb the mice and leaving them to go about their business in peace. We hope they enjoy their stay at Church Farm.

Mice Nest_Blog_04March2014