Thursday, 11 February 2016

Bristol's Windmill Hill City Farm turns 40

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.
father and daughter enjoy wandering through windmill hill city farm allotments near the digging area, childhood unplugged
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.
inspirational ideas for decorating your allotment with fabric dream catchers, mandalas
little girl enjoys the scent of sweet peas growing in a polytunnel at windmill hill city farm, bristol
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.
father and daughter make friends with the pygmy goats at windmill hill city farm
little girl admires the salad produce growing by the greenhouse at windmill hill city farm
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.
Father and daughter enjoy wandering past the friendly pig at windmill hill city farm in bristol
impressive example of a large bug house, bug hotel at windmill hill city farm, example of eco friendly gardening
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.
a child enjoys adventurous play on the robust wooden climbing equipment at windmill hill city farm
having fun climbing on the wooden play equipment at windmill hill city farm
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.
impressive recycled metal rhino art sculpture at windmill hill city farm in bristol, upcycling, eco friendly
water dragon junk model lurking in the wildlife garden at windmill hill city farm in bristol
scary upcycled metal scorpion sculpture emerges out of the greenery at windmill hill city farm allotments
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
flyer promoting wild outdoors day at windmill hill city farm in bedminster on the edge of bristol
I'm linking up with some lovely blogs this week:
How Does Your Garden Grow over on

Mammsaurus HDYGG
Share With Me over on
The Prompt over on
Country Kids From Coombemill


Claudia Guerreiro said...

what a wonderful place! looks like you had a great time

Amy Halls said...

Oh that was great to read about - we used to live in Bristol and its so good to be reminded what a fab and fun place it is. I love Derbyshire (current home), but Bristol really is a unique place, its just got a certain kind of vibe that I've not found anywhere else - and this is a prime example. We keep talking about heading back down there when our daughter is old enough to enjoy it, so will have to make Windmill Hill City farm one of our stops when we do - must confess, I never knew there was so much to see #theprompt

Would Like To Be a Yummy Mummy said...

Ooh that looks lovely. Always love to find these places when you live in the city #countrykids

Would Like To Be a Yummy Mummy said...

Ooh that looks lovely. Always love to find these places when you live in the city #countrykids

Coombe Mill said...

What a wonderful community project that has clearly lasted the test of time. I can imagine this being well supported with no entry fee and there looks so much to see and learn. I love the upcycled animals, they are so creative. I hope they make enough through the cafe and special events to keep it going. A lovely project to highlight on #CountryKids

Island Living 365 said...

That looks like such a fantastic place to visit and how great that it also has a day nursery attached #countrykids

chickenruby said...

what a gorgeous place to be able to visit and so much to do for everyone, thanks for sharing

Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One said...

What a great place to explore, love the sculptures too #CountryKids

Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) said...

That looks like a wonderful place to visit and lovely to hear these kinds of stories of community volunteer projects that have really grown to create a wonderful oasis in the city. That play area looks like great fun too! :-)

MummyTravels said...

What a lovely place - and how amazing it's free to get in. The city farms really are so wonderful for urban kids, I think, I know my daughter loves seeing animals. #countrykids

Victoria Welton said...

This looks like a great place to go. What a really worthwhile project too. I have never heard of it but I definitely need to look into going at some point. #ThePrompt

Sara Murray said...

This place looks amazing! What a fabulous community resource, and wonderful to see people pulling together to create it. My kids would love it there! Love that rhino :) Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

Stephanie Robinson said...

Sounds a great placce and the sort of place more cities and towns could do with. Forty years is a long time for a garden it'd be fab to see how its changed over that time. Clearly it's not so long in people years and I'm sure you're much more spritely than an established community garden ;) #hdygg

Annie said...

What a fab place! So inspiring when land get turns into something sustainable that everyone can enjoy. Sounds as though it's evolved into something that grown ups and kids can enjoy alike - perfect!
Thanks for sharing lovely and joining in again :)

Jenny Ripatti-Taylor said...

Oh looks like you had such a great time. I love this so many great captures too. I love the great outdoors wish england would give us a bit more sun and nice weather so we could enjoy this beautiful green country more outdoors. Lovely. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

Lisa from Lisa's Life said...

This looks an amazing place! :)


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