We first visited Bristol's Windmill City Farm back in June 2015. I've wanted to blog about it for ages. I was prompted to write this post when I heard the farm would be turning 40 this year. Now I know the farm started life in the same year I did, I feel even more kinship with the place. Also with half term and the Easter holidays on the horizon, there is no better time to sing the praises of this amazing place.
Back in 1976 local people battled with the council to turn a derelict piece of land in Bedminster into a community space. The farm was set up on shoestring budget and started out with a few animals and a veggie patch. What the farm lacked in funds it made up for in determination from a band of dedicated volunteers. They had the vision to turn wasteland into an urban oasis. Many generations of Bristol children and their parents have alot to thank them for.
It's not until you visit Windmill City Farm that you truly appreciate what a wonderful place it is. I've already called it an 'oasis', but it really is. All sides are flanked with mature trees, there are plants growing everywhere and well established allotment plots brimming with produce. The whole place just shouts 'nature haven' and it's something to cherish in an urban environment.
There's so much to see and it doesn't cost a penny to get in. One income stream comes from the family-friendly cafe. I can highly recommend the chocolate brownies. They are heaven with a cup of tea. It's no wonder the cafe won "Best Family Friendly" at the Bristol Good Food awards in 2015. You can also buy eggs, meat, preserves and produce grown on the farm. There is also a gift shop selling handmade items from local designer-makers.
Magoo adores the place. A particular favourite is the outdoor play area. There are loads of nets, poles, ropes to climb and a sandpit to dig around in. It's a place to hang upside down, get muddy knees and burn off loads of energy.
There are also plenty of nature trails for you to follow. You can pick up details at reception and discover new bits of the farm. One of my favourite things at the farm are the sculptures made from upcycled materials dotted around the site. The chickens live side-by-side with an Metal Rhino, there's a sea-dragon emerging from the nature pond and watch out for the Scorpion in the allotments. I love creative recycling like this and it gives visitors young and old plenty to talk about.
Apart from the animals and allotments, the farm also acts as an important community hub for many other concerns:
There is a...
- Bike repair centre in the Bike Shed
- A 95-place daycare nursery
- Volunteering places for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues
- Forest School
- School visits
- Holiday Activities for children, such as making pizzas in their outdoor clay-oven
- After School Club
- Conference facilities with in-house catering
- Art Exhibitions
- Adult education classes ranging from painting, willow weaving through to family yoga and even animal husbandry.
- And much, much more...
You just have to read the farm's What's On page to see how much there is on offer.
We are so lucky to live a short train journey away from Windmill City Farm. It is a hidden treasure in the middle of Bristol city. I hope it stays around for another 40 years and beyond...
One of the newest additions is a Public Garden. The car park at the front of the farm has been converted into a community garden. It opens officially on 16th April on what is billed as "Wild Outdoors Day'. We will definitely be taking a trip to see this. I can't wait to see what they've created
I'm linking up with some lovely blogs this week:
How Does Your Garden Grow over on mammasaurus.co.uk
The Prompt over on mumturnedmom.com
Country Kids From Coombemill