Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience


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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

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Running for Rural Care

Tony H - Rural care

Our very own Tony Hopkins is running the London Marathon this year to raise money for Rural Care. Once we had got over the fact that Tony could actually run and didn’t just stand around drinking tea all day, we thought about how we could help him train. What Tony doesn’t know is that we have a training schedule planned for him. How better to train for a marathon than helping herding sheep. We thought he could start by herding our flock of 200 ewes. Think one man and his dog, without the dog! To finish up his training we thought we could put the pressure on and let the rams do the herding and see how fast he can run! We are here to help in any way we can.

All money raised will help Rural Care in different ways to help in general but there are some specific projects and tools we have in mind.

  • We would like a few new 2-wheeled wheelbarrows, as these enable Co-Farmers with mobility problems to be more independent.
  • We would also like to make some of our animal pens more accessible for wheelchair users.
  • Finally, we have a fund for individuals who we really feel would benefit from what we do. Funding for provisions and services is diminishing year on year. It often hits hardest for those who fall between the cracks or don’t fit into the funding boxes. This fund will enable those individuals to access the farm and all it has to offer.

We are blown away by this amazing gesture and will be with Tony every step of the way through this amazing journey.

Donate at  www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rural-care

 


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Thank you, Viv and Istvan

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Just before Christmas, our reporter Holly and newsletter editor Aimee sat with Viv and Istvan, as they were taking a break from plucking, to talk to them about their future plans.  Viv and Istvan were at Church Farm for nearly two years, and have returned to Hungary to get started with their own small farm.

 We asked many questions, about their time here and their future plans.  Viv worked in horticulture, the farm, box scheme, the shop and café and on many weekends cared for the Rural Care animals.  Istvan has been working on the farm, driving tractor, caring for pigs and cows and poultry, and preparing poultry for Christmas orders.  They were happy to talk to us about their future plans.

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 Holly asked them if they have enjoyed their time at Church Farm.  Istvan answered,

….sometimes good or bad, in two years, working 6 days a week.  When we look back in five years, we will be smiling, not crying.

When we talked to them they were preparing to leave.  Viv enjoyed cooking while she was here, and there are many reports about wonderful cakes she made for birthdays and other occasions. She said she had much to pack up from her kitchen here.  Istvan said she can’t take everything with her!

 They have many things in their caravan to send home by trucks.  They have to pack up things and send 75kg. They have a 100 year old house with their land and yes they did to enjoy lots of cooking and things to put for their Christmas.  In their future to get married in June and to hope to have three or four children.  They will work really hard in their life with their children to grow up with their animals. They will start to grow vegetables as well as the animals are the best with a good place to stay to watch the views on their farm.  They are making their own plans for their own farm and they will start with the smaller animals: two guinea pigs, rabbits, two dogs, mixture of animals, pigs, goats, poultry with the eggs, ostrich, honey bees in their new areas.

Viv and Istvan both grew up with animals and growing vegetables, so for them it is natural to go back and get started with their own farm.  Istvan said that he thinks a farm is a good place to raise children, and they are both looking forward to starting a family soon.

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To Viv and Istvan:  You all hopefully to have a nice time and we all see you all some point and we hope you all to have a nice time there and over Christmas and New Year and don’t forget about us and Church Farm too.  We all miss you here at the farm.  Thank you for your hard work, smiles and cakes!

 To all our readers:  Merry Christmas and New Year and Happy New Year to you all and your children from Holly.

Holly and Aimee

 


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: A Day of Wonder

Fin’s Sixteenth Adventure

Hungry Birds

May 16th 2017

National Walking Month and Dementia Awareness Week

In the middle of a small wood a nest box had been put up on a tree.

Dr Finlay was working late as usual but on this occasion he was to be rewarded in a way that money simply cannot buy.

A small movement caught his eye and looking more closely he saw the gaping mouth of a tiny, tiny bird.

Awestruck he went to find a box to look more closely and used Fin to support his clambering.

Gently lifting the lid he saw not one but eight hungry birds, their eyes not yet open and their beaks open wide desparate for food.

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Nature!!!

Incredible!!!

Retreating to a safe distance he felt the need to share this wondrous experience with people he knew and cared about whom he thought would appreciate it.

He rushed off hoping they would share his amazement.

Later he was to share the experience with colleagues and Co-Farmers, staff and friends.

Their joyful faces were something to behold almost as wonderful as the sight itself.

This would not have happened if there were no trees and he was reminded of the famous book by Rachel Carson, Silent Spring.

Imagine, no birds, no trees, no farms, no animals, no life on Earth.

No don’t, enjoy it.

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Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 16th 2017


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: A visit to the playground

A Pile of Sticks

A Visit to the Playground

Fin’s Fourth Adventure

May 4th 2017

National Walking Month

Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you) started like most others with the sun rising somewhere else and arriving like a bus to the right of Dr Finlay’s caravan.

Fin would be waiting outside ready for another adventure and this morning Dr Finlay was in a better place, a kinder place, a gentler place.

Dr Finlay had been wondering if Fin was lonely, did he miss his other sticks?  Perhaps they could go and visit a place nearby and he could show Fin that if he needed them that other sticks were close by for a stick fight or a pooh stick race, although Fin was a bit big for that now. But you never lose your inner pooh stick, thought Dr Finlay. Fin was thinking this too and had recently been reminded of how much fun young sticks have and that perhaps he wasn’t having enough fun himself.

So off they went on a short stroll to the Farm’s Playground where they found the sticks that had recently all got together to make a den, a shelter, a place to hide safe from the intrusions of the outside world.

They all lay there in a straight line, piled up, but perhaps at night or when no-one was watching they would get up and dance and play, perhaps…

Dr Finlay then took Fin over to the Vicars Orchard so that they got some proper walking done and a chance to see some trees being trees together.

Dr Finlay noticed that he was getting used to Fin and the initial awkwardness of holding a funny stick was disappearing.  Fin and he were getting acquainted.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

And tomorrow they would be joined on their walk by their first guest.

—Dr Finlay
May 4th 2017

 

 


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Lean on Me

Just pain today

Lean on me

Fin’s Third Adventure

May 3rd 2017

National Walking Month

Dr Finlay was in a strange mood this morning as they set off on their morning walk around the Circular Walk. It was to be a very quiet walk today, no talking, no greeting the animals, not enough a glance up to the trees.  The only thing that Dr Finlay remembered was another stick lying in the middle of the path.  His eyes were downcast.

Fin wasn’t sure what to do?  So he just carried on being a stick, something for someone to hold on to.  Something to provide support and something to lean on.

Fin was a quite brilliant stick and didn’t realise how helpful he was being.  He was a quiet comfort in a time of sadness for Dr Finlay who had received some difficult news. He was glad Fin was there.  Can I stick be a friend?  Perhaps this is a good example of when so called inanimate objects can provide some comfort in troubled times.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 3rd 2017

 

 


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Lamb Feeding and other Spring Activities

Preparations are underway for the first birth of the year.  The lambing bays have been laid with fresh straw and the ewes are moving into the maternity ward as we speak.

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New intern, Angelina, has arrived from North Rhine-Westfalia in Germany to work in Rural Care and lead the lamb feeding team.  Angelina is studying sustainable agriculture at the University of Applied Science, after WWOOFing in New Zealand three years ago sparked her interest in agriculture.  She will be with us through August.

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Our first lambs are due mid-March. If you would like to meet our hand reared lambs and help us bottle feed them you can book online . Bottle-feeding is £9.95 per person, supervising adults are free. A lamb feeding session will typically last 45 minutes.  You will hear from our experienced staff the latest details about how the lambing is progressing and how special this time of year is on our farm. This activity is wonderful for all ages and everyone can get involved. Bottle-feeding lambs is a wheelchair and pushchair friendly activity.

Booking is essential as this is a popular event.  Please check-in at the Farm Store on arrival.

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Pick up an activity sheet from the farm shop when you get your Farm Day Pass and animal feed, and follow the Farm Trail around, past rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and cows.  Along the way there are six painted lambs.  See if you can find them all!  Write down their names and go back to the shop for a prize.

Chick Trail for Easter
During the Easter holidays, pick up an activity sheet from the farm shop when you get your Farm Day Pass and animal feed, and follow the Farm Trail around, past rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and cows.  Along the way there are painted chicks.  See if you can find them all!  Write down their names and go back to the shop for a prize.

Egg Collecting
We offer Little Farmers the chance to help with feeding chickens and collecting eggs from our happy Church Farm hens.  Egg collecting is at 11:30 am and lasts approximately 1 hour. Plus, as part of the experience, they’ll get to take half a dozen eggs home with them—eggcellent! You can book online. If you have any questions please call 01438 861 447. Egg collecting is £9.95 per child (this price includes the half dozen eggs and a bag of animal feed), free for supervising adults.

Farm Day Pass
A Farm Day Pass enables you to enjoy access to the farm trail, horticulture garden, woodland play area, home field and vicarage field animals and use of the indoor play room for just £3 per person or just £10 for up to 5 adults and children. Bags of pig, poultry and cattle feed are available at the Farm Store, where you will be given a safety briefing and a free map showing the points where you can feed the animals around the farm.

 

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