Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience


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Camping with Campers in Nature

This month, Holly our Co-Farmer reporter, spoke to Ann and Rozelle about camping at the farm.  She used the farm brochure for research, learned about the Countryside Code, and also asked a friend of the farm about her camping experience.

 Camping on the Farm from the past
Campers had to book them and maybe a campfire in the website and we are looking forward to welcome you to our Church Farm and with showers and toilets on each field and they decided to rent a cabin or to bring their tents and their cars maybe on the beautiful fields with the camping hill and as many nights as they want and to enjoy it.  In the countryside with the campsite and campfire and barbeques too with map they had all this time.  They went circular farm walk with the farm trail and the wood cabins and the camp beds to blowup for their holiday and wood burning stove and if they want a campfire and to book in advance on they website if they want to.

 “What do campers do? We had an amazing time camping at Church farm. There is lots of space to run around and lots to see. We went for a walk around the village, visited all the animal and fed them, collected eggs. We checked out the farm shop and bought fresh food for our bbq. In the evening we sat around the campfire and watched the moon come up, and we were even lucky enough to watch the space station pass over. J Next time we plan to do more, maybe the tractor ride, or in the spring lamb feeding. There is lots to keep you busy around the farm, plus our son had great fun in the woodland play area.

It was lovely to see all the campfires in the evening and hear all the people enjoying themselves and the children able to run free in the field and enjoy the outdoors.”

Harriet Swindle-Roche

 

Photos by Harriet Swindle-Roche

Present with the Camping
They spend as many nights as they want on their camping hill with their bonfire and made up a story and listen to music before their bedtime till morning and what they had their breakfast. Then just be careful and beware of litter of anything they do, not to drop them on our farm.  Do not do that and jut do it on their own please.  Put it in our bin and don’t drop anymore and please don’t pick any wild flowers either and just leave it and walk away now in the countryside and please follow our rules.

Lie down under the stars and to watch the stars at night time with the bee’s making honey in their hive, in the trees with the birds to lay their eggs, with the butterflies and badgers and bugs to start to come out in the woodland, with the trees and the pond sometimes in the fields.

Future just the Camping Season
To get organised the camping gear and need more animals for our nature in our woodland like rabbits and birds and owls at night time with the stars in the night sky.  Do more in the daytime and get to work with the animals all grown up like lambs and the other animals to be fed and more like a hike round our Church Farm and the Farm Shop and the bottle feed the lambs and the egg collecting and the café to eat, and the pub to drink, and to play on in the woodland.

Holly

 

Rural Care, where care for land and people meet.  Rural Care enables people with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues to work on a farm, learn skills, and make friends.  Working on a farm is a great way to keep healthy, and build confidence and self-esteem.

 


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From the Farmer

  • We will continue to grow the Farm, Rural Care, education partnerships, and school visits, which currently employ over half the team.
  • Pub, Café, Food Production and Catering improvements are planned, as we are investing in a new team headed by Becca who is overseeing in a new post.
  • Recruited for new post of customer experience director – Claire will be joining us 20th March to oversee all aspects of shop, retail, visitor experiences, events, reception, and meet and greet.
  • Camping and glamping is expected to be the same number of people as last year but higher spend per head with us providing luxury tipi tents and glamping extras.
  • Improving the farm trail and membership offer.
  • Online Farm Shop, Farm Box Delivery, Meat for the Week, Wholesale outlets—We are opening up Free Friday delivery to all of Hertfordshire and North London.
  • Developing and continuing to grow the market for our food and produce at Aldenham Country Park which we run, and has 200,000 visitors a year.
  • Developing the Café and Farm Shop at Aldenham.
  • Creating additional apprenticeships following on from recent successes.
  • We will increase number of breeding cattle from 34 to 60 between Church Farm and Aldenham.
  • No increase is planned for other livestock and poultry.
  • We aim to grow 2 acres more field vegetables—extra pumpkins, carrots and parsnips.
  • Growing Maris Piper spuds this year.
  • Corporate Days out in the week—real activities for team building events helping on the farm.
  • Quiet Family Camping – we will continue to ensure that neither fellow campers nor neighbours are disturbed by amplified music and aim to have zero complaints on this again.
  • We are giving up the weddings and music events that we did up to 2016, which has resulted in a £60,000 revenue reduction. Plans this year include addressing this.
  • We will be planting 2 acres in plots of the farm this year for butterflies and bees: Sainfoin, Winter Vetch, Alsike Clover, Red Clover, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Lucerne, Black Knapweed and Musk Mallow.

Tim

 

lucerne_0

Lucerne


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Easter Holiday Activities

Lamb Feeding
We are lambing now. If you would like to help us bottle feed them you can book online. A lamb feeding session lasts around 45 minutes and you will hear from our experienced staff all about the lambs you are feeding and the latest details about how the lambing season is progressing. A wonderful experience for all ages, bottle feeding lambs is a wheelchair and pushchair friendly activity.

lamb feeding3

Indoor and Outdoor Play, Feed the Animals, and Farm Trail
With your day pass you can spend time in the indoor play room, the newly redesigned Woodland Play area, feed animals around the farm, and follow the Easter Farm Trail to get a treat from the shop.

Egg Collecting
Egg collecting can be booked for 11:30 am and lasts approximately 1 hour.  Accompany one of our farmers and experience the free range hens close up, and take home a box of (6) eggs.

egg ollex

Camping
Pitch up your tent under the stars and enjoy all the farm has to offer for a weekend or even a week. Church Farm is a great place for a glass of wine around the campfire to relax and enjoy nature as well as natural play. You can book to have an open fire. There are large straw bales provided for clambering on, which can provide young and older with hours of fun – but only under parental supervision. Basic facilities like compost toilets and hot shower cubicles are ready in the camping field. Camping prices include a free farm pass for every day you stay!

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Trailer Rides
Enjoy a trip around the farm on our popular tractor/trailer ride.  Book for 12:30, Saturday or Sunday.

Book all events online!