Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience

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Many Happy Returns

Some Birthdays we like to remember, some we like to forget but usually somewhere along the way we will celebrate them in one way or another.

Tim the Farmer reached his 50th birthday recently and tried to keep it fairly quiet but word got out and he had a few surprises.

Tim Roger tractor - Copy

Tim wondering why no one had wrapped up his Birthday present!

These included a Special Edition of this newsletter with photos supplied by his family to embarrass him.  A group of students fed 50 trees for him in the Vicars Orchard, and he had at least two surprise cakes with the big 50 written on them.

Uni challenge group

Students from North Carolina wishing Tim a Happy Birthday.

Tim and some of his friends spent the night in some of the cabins on the farm and then found their way to the café for breakfast.

Another of our visitors had other ideas and booked dinner in the Jolly Waggoner but her guests had to earn their dinner with a good walk around the farm after some spectacular duck herding.

herding ducks

Magnificent duck herding by this birthday group.

The farm is getting busier now with lamb feeding, butchers and farmers for the day getting unique experiences, often for a birthday and children’s parties heading off on farm tours on the trailer to feed the animals.

lamg and toy

Lots of birthdays on the way for those Airies
amongst you and also for many of our lambs.

For all of you with birthdays coming up under the sign of the Ram we would like to wish you a very happy birthday.


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Wednesday Walkies with Sid the Sheepdog

Sid the Sheepdog bounding through the Bluebells on the Circular Walk

Sid the Sheepdog bounding through the Bluebells on the Circular Walk

A lovely Wednesday morning and Sid was playfully running about amongst the beautiful bluebells that can be seen from the Circular Walk at the Farm. They won’t be there for much longer so he was keen to enjoy them while he could.

Meanwhile it appears that Chicken Dave had become a proper dog person and before they set off he had bought Sid a present.

Su showing Sid his present from Chicken Dave

Su showing Sid his present from Chicken Dave

During their perimeter security walk the three of them had bumped into some old friends of Chicken Dave who were doing a health walk for their hearts.

The Christchurch Cardiac Walkers from Hitchin had taken a day out from their art classes to come and see some bluebells and if you look closely you can just see them in the distance. (Sid of course could still smell them quite easily).


The good and sheltered pathway makes for a pleasant walk around the farm

The good and sheltered pathway makes for a pleasant walk around the farm




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University Challenge

On March 10th Church Farm played host to a group of exchange students from the University of Hertfordshire and their exchange partners from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, USA.

The group were looking to experience different things during their stay in the UK including some voluntary work in the local community.

24 willing and able students and teachers arrived in the middle of the Hertfordshire countryside to enjoy an afternoon of hedge laying, tree feeding and an exploration of the farm, including feeding lambs and herding ducks.

Uni challenge with shovel

Ginny’s group, while placing manure around apple trees, reinvented themselves as the band, “Holy Crap!”


Stefan and Ginny, the group leaders joined in the adventure whole heartedly as did all the students and whilst the farm got its trees fed and hedge laid the students got to meet pigs, lambs, ducks and chickens.

Sid the Sheepdog got to train some new walkers for his Academy and enjoy some time in the orchard while intern Merrick got to practice his photography skills.

Dave and Sid

Chicken Dave being supervised by Sid the Sheepdog.

It was a delightful visit from our Transatlantic cousins and our University neighbours.

Uni challenge group

Ginny’s orchard group having completed their birthday gift to Tim of 50 fed trees.  (It was recently Tim’s 50th birthday.)



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Wednesday Walkies with Sid the Sheepdog

sid the police dog


Chicken Dave went for his lesson as usual on Wednesday morning but……

There was no Sid!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sid was missing and his main student Su was also missing.

Surely they must have been Sid – napped.

Feeling distraught Chicken Dave searched everywhere, the café, the chick shed, Rural Care, the lambs, the cows and of course the chickens and pigs.

But Sid was nowhere to be seen (of course he was worried about Su as well but really he was missing Sid).

He felt silly going for a walk by himself so got out his camera and took some pictures of the animals around the farm.

While he was doing this to take his mind off his missing dog he wondered where Sid might have gone.

dog races

Perhaps Su had taken Sid to become a racing dog?

cute dog - c

What if Sid had been swapped for another, smaller, cuter, better behaved dog!

week 9 sheep

Or perhaps he had gone to do some special undercover police work as a sheep?

Next week – what happened to Sid (and Su of course).