All Year: Yes
Category: Non Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 3026
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Last Updated: April 24, 2019
This hillside farm property has been in the family since 1904. For the majority of this time the farm was a traditional dairy farm reliant on petrochemical fertilisers, feed supplements and red diesel. In August 2006 I (Ian) returned from working abroad to start a new business on the farm to prove small scale agriculture can be environmentally aware, promote biodiversity and remain viable in a difficult and competitive market such as food production.
• Operates an on farm butchery and bakery
• Is an employer both on the farm outside Oswestry, Shropshire where we look after the land, animals, run courses and make pies, and in Hatfield, Herts for delivering into London and the SE
• Is a real working farm with free range animals
• Distributes chilled food products on behalf of national award winning chefs and food producers
The proceeds from these activities are re-invested by a Community Interest Company providing horticultural therapy projects for a wide range of local people. Engaged with local health authorities and local and regional HE colleges, the farm predominantly provides these projects to young adults with a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities and adults with mental health issues.
All funded through the sale of our #tastypies!
As a participant in the Higher Level Environmental Stewardship scheme the farm is fully engaged with ‘Natural England’, an organisation promoting biodiversity and environmental awareness through modern farming practices.
Volunteer accommodation is in a cosy upstairs room; the old Granary (sometimes used as a classroom in the case of inclement weather).
A simple breakfast is provided and lunch is available from the selection of our own meat/veggie pies in the little on-site shop. Your evening meal is either communal or self-catered in a purpose kitted out kitchenette/dining room/tea break room/library (the Old Stable), but ingredients are available to buy from our shop and we can also provide transport to the local town of Oswestry for shopping etc.
Tasks are entirely negotiable depending on interests and experience but could include: feeding and caring for the animals and bees; planting, weeding and harvesting in the garden and traditional orchards; repointing ancient stone walls; cooking and preserving; managing the ancient woodlands and wetland meadows; hedge cutting; cleaning; fencing; straw bale stacking… and so much more… and there`s always lots of seasonal jobs to do!
Monday – Wednesday are devoted to outdoor tasks while on Thursdays and Fridays you would usually be helping in the bakery.
Currently we are in the process of building a straw bale toilet and shower block cladding the structure with a clay render (with clay dug from the farm).
We don’t use herbicide on the farm and so weed control is all done by hand. This can be exhausting for one person, but a few people doing a little bit every day can make an onerous task much more fun!
We have planning permission for transforming an old barn into a bunkhouse so we can offer luxurious residential farm stays to our client groups, rather than just day services. We have got so far but there’s lots more to do – including processing the trees we have cut down from our own woodland into materials we can use when they have dried out in 12-18months.
We are looking for a one or two volunteers to join us for (to start) a 2 week stay, after 10 days we would sit down and discuss if the stay would be extended or, without any questions asked, either party can decide to call it a day.
Work hours vary based on the job we are on but as a rough guide we have breakfast at 8-8:30 and start work at 9am. Tea and coffee breaks are when needed and lunch is at about 1pm. We usually finish at 5pm but sometimes earlier, sometimes later, depending on the work. Weekends are your own (unless there is something special going on like a community day) and there are lots of places to visit near the farm…
• 1/2hr away you have the historic towns of Shrewsbury and Chester
• 45mins there is Snowdonia or the South Shropshire Hills
• 1hr away is Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and all of the North Wales coast
Do have a look at our website to find out more about what we're doing and phone us or email us if you have any questions.
Looking forward to hearing from you!