Friday, March 30, 2007

Preparations for Fordhall's first ever AGM

As the weekend's activities loom, volunteers are pulling together and helping with preparations for the events. Fordhall Community Land Initiaitive's first every AGM is on Saturday March 31st at The Grove School, Market Drayton, 10am-12. Following this is an exciting conference (£15) with Partick Holden, director of the Soil Association, speaking about the future of farming and how Fordhall Farm is leading the way. Also speaking at the conference is Tom Wolley, a sustainable buildings expert who is advising the team on how to progress forward.

The day is being chaired by Tom Oliver, head of rural policies at CPRE and a long-standing supporter of the Initiative. Both Charlotte and Ben Hollins will be speaking and the day will be rounded off by a contribution from John Hughes, development manager at the Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

In the evening there is a partner-swinging, toes clipping ceilidh barn dance also at The Grove School. Tickets are £10 (£5 for children) and include a hog roast.

To finish off this fantastic weekend, there will be a FOOD FESTIVAL at Fordhall Farm on Sunday April 1st, 11-4pm. Expect to see a wide variety of local producers, games for the children and lots of lambs, piglets and calves. The nature trail will also be open with an example Forest School hidden in the woodland. Entrance is free and there is a BBQ and refreshments. Not to be missed!

See you all there x

Monday, March 19, 2007

Biggest Lamb Ever!

Fordhall is ringing with the noise of baa's from every angle. With around 90 lambs so far there is plenty of skipping and jumping going on, and thats just the volunteers.

Modelled by Farmer Ben and 'Courier' Dave is the largest new-born lamb yet. The picture above was taken only 12 hours after the lamb was born and its massive!

You can see the lambs in the fields when you come to the Fordhall Food Festival on April 1st (11-4pm). A couple of lambs will be available for children to see them up close and personal. Also on the day will be a fantastic local food festival, live folk music, the Nature Trail and lots more fun activities for children and families.

We look forward to seeing you there. Bring your wellies if its raining!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Permaculture Design course at Fordhall

After the success of last year, we are holding another 2 week Permaculture Design course at Fordhall Farm. It will run from April 28th until May 12th, and I can assure you they are great fun.

You will learn the art of sustainable design that can later be applied to your house, garden, farmland or even window sill. The course is based at Fordhall and accommodation will be provided in our fantastic locally built yurts. This is an experience you wont forget, or regret.

More information on this great course run by Hannah Thorogood and Aranya can be found at
(the pictures at the bottom of this link were taken on last years course at Fordhall).

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fordhall Farm’s methods are spreading!

Written by Tanya and Laura

This weekend we’ve had a fantastic time visiting Fordhall Farm to see all the work that’s going on the Farm and to hear about how it all started. We’re hoping to use some of the ideas in order to save a Grade II* listed building which is in need of urgent restoration to give it a new lease of life. Tanya is a Fordhall shareholder and, talking about Fordhall with friends, saw that the model of community involvement might also be used to help save Sockburn Hall. We decided this was a great excuse to come and visit the Farm – especially when we heard that we could stay in a yurt!

Our weekend at Fordhall has given us some really memorable moments… from the compost toilet and the nature trail to feeding lambs with Farmer Ben and envelope stuffing with Chatty Charlotte! It’s been amazing to see the enthusiasm and spirit that got the project started and that’s still going strong. We really appreciate the welcome we received and the brilliant advice from everyone here. Seeing the results of the initiative is a great boost and really makes us feel that the Sockburn project has a chance of success.

Sockburn is a beautiful house south of Darlington which has been in my family for fifty years but which has fallen into a state of disrepair to the extent that it can’t be lived in at the moment because of a lack of funds for renovation and ongoing maintenance. If we can’t find a way to make Sockburn financially sustainable then it is likely that it would have to be sold to developers risking a change to the character of the house and its history being lost. Our aim is to make the house safe again and make it a useable asset for anyone who wants to be involved.

Seeing Fordhall in action has crystallised the importance of putting people and the community at the centre of any project. Sockburn and Fordhall have many similarities – the younger generation’s desire to keep working on something that has been in the family for many years and the need to make what results financially and ecologically sustainable. All we’ve seen here really makes us feel that achieving what seems impossible is in fact a real possibility. Thank you, Fordhall!

If you are interested in Sockburn, or have any help or advice to offer, then email me: