Time is running out for us here. In two short weeks we’ll be off to Germany for the summer and then hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) we’ll be moving into our new home in Bristol. With departure looming, I’d better crack on with my list of favourite Southampton finds. So next up is:
A while back I read this great post on London city farms. Intrigued, I did a quick google search and discovered that Southampton actually has a city farm of its very own. Down to Earth Community Farm is based in the heart of the city on a 5 acre sight, including farmyard, woodland, pond, garden and vegetable patch. During the week, it runs activities for groups and those with learning disabilities. It’s open to the public though every Saturday and Sunday, so when the sun finally made an appearance a few weekends ago, the boy and I made a visit there accompanied by a friend and her two babes. While the two babies were still a bit young to take much notice of their surroundings, my friend’s little boy (nearly 4) was in his element, feeding the turkey, chickens, ducks and goats, stroking the tortoise, rabbits and guinea pigs, and running riot through the garden. And let’s face it, we adults had fun too.
Entrance is a ridiculously affordable £2 for adults and £1 for children over 2. A pack of feed costs, I think, 50p. The staff, many of them school kids volunteering, are extremely friendly and give great guided walks around the farm and its animals. Here’s some of what you can see and do:
Penny and Priscilla, the pigs
Dr John, the tortoise
feeding the many chickens
Charlie, the turkey, ruffling his 5000 or so feathers
farm walk, the paddock and gardens
watching from a safe distance
feeding the goats, Lily, Beth and Annie
Velvet, the cow
Neville(?), the rabbit
Last year, Down to Earth received a £20,000 donation from the Barker-Mill Foundation. The money’s being spent on building a new kitchen to enable the farm to teach cookery skills, healthy eating and food production as well as run a small café, which I think would be a huge bonus for visitors. It’s also allowing them to increase disabled access throughout the farm and to renovate and enlarge the rooms housing their small animals, craft and woodwork.
City farms really do bring a little bit of the countryside right to your doorstep. I’ll be sure to check out Bristol’s offerings when we get there.