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Hands on!

with Andrew Taylor

Broughton Grounds Farm is a 130 hectare traditional mixed family farm on the Broughton Castle Estate near Banbury. We keep 420 breeding ewes, 35 beef suckler cows and 250 free range hens and grow approximately 40 hectares of cereals and a small area of potatoes to sell at the farm gate. Broughton Grounds has a traditional meadow containing over 120 different plants which are seen at their best in June and July.

On a visit to Broughton Grounds there are lots of opportunities to get up close with nature including fleeces to roll, lambs to weigh and tag for market, eggs to collect, hedgerows and field margins to investigate, pigs to feed, grain to handle, to mention just a few. As a group becomes more confident they usually start to have fun and I encourage the group to handle and taste wheat, barley and oats, explaining how they can be used in bread, beer and animal feed. As the group’s confidence grows so do the questions about it all!

In any group people can see the visits differently. For some the visit is a big adventure but others can find it a bit daunting so it goes at the pace that suits each individual. For some people a few minutes holding a hen, stroking a horse, or collecting eggs is the highlight, boosting confidence and aiding their connection with the day’s activities.

A particularly memorable visit was from a group of young adults from Aylesbury College’s ‘Thrift Farm’ disability day centre, which is run by Buckinghamshire County Council Social Services. Some of their young adults are doing NVQ Level 1 Animal Husbandry or Small Animal Care courses and the hands-on visit really brought their learning to life! Have a look at our short film to see what I mean!

I also enjoyed the day the ‘Friends of the Archway Foundation’ (a charity for lonely and isolated people) visited where we included felt making in the visit. Have a look at the photos of these beautiful felt pieces.

PS. Have a listen to Andrew Taylor going about his winter work on our audio pages.