Bath’s Best Kept Secret, by Becky Nicholls 2017
Bath City Farm overlooks the city from the southern slopes of Bath where you can enjoy spectacular views.
Bath City Farm was established by the local community after the resident farmer retired at the start of the 1990’s, and gained charitable status in 1995. In the past twenty-two years, there has been considerable change and much progress at the farm with the introduction of soay sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, pigs, miniature Shetland ponies and most recently a flock of guinea fowl.
During 2005, the BBC’s DIY SOS team came to the farm and completed the first building – providing volunteers, visiting groups and staff with wet weather facilities, toilets and an office. In 2012, a wooden volunteer cabin and training room was built. This became available for hire in 2013 to visiting groups, providing teaching and learning for a range of courses and skills. It can also be used for meetings and social gatherings.
The farm’s mission is to create a caring, healthy and integrated community through the involvement of local people. There are various community events held throughout the year: Treasure Hunts, Litter Picks, Tree Planting, Easter Egg Hunt, Summer BBQ, Apple and Pumpkin Day, Bonfire Night and a Christmas Fair.
Once a year, Bath City Farm hold a Folk Music Day where various folk musicians are invited along to perform on the Crater Outdoor Performance Space. This is situated in a World War 2 bomb crater in the middle of the sheep field. The Crater is a excellent green open space and the audience can enjoy magnificent views of Bath and the beautiful countryside.
There are many activities to do at the farm. Visitors can come to meet the animals – chickens, sheep, goats, pigs and ducks – some of which can be fed by hand and bags of feed are available from the Farm shop. The Trough Cafe is a community cafe and serves delicious homemade soups and cakes, sandwiches, snacks and drinks. The farm shop sells free-range meat, eggs and seasonal produce.
Drumming workshop at a fun day at Bath City Farm
There are lots of volunteering opportunities which include animal care, gardening and homemade crafts. Courses run each year on animal care, growing your own veg and how to keep chickens.
There is a Make and Bake group held on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the farm. These workshops bring people together who may be socially isolated and supports them to increase self esteem, confidence and motivation.
Wednesday activities include making homemade gifts for the farm shop. Volunteers learn and gain new skills in a safe and supportive environment. The group has made celebration cards, hair clips, handmade paper, fridge magnets, candles and seasonal decorations.
Thursday mornings involve volunteers gaining practical skills by cooking a lunch in a supportive environment for staff and volunteers. In the afternoon the group make homemade soups, sausage rolls and a variety of cakes for the Trough Cafe.
Jams and chutneys made by volunteers for the farm shop
I spoke with Bath City Farm staff member Cecily Mumby who said:
“It’s a big community project here at Bath City Farm. A managed green space for local people. I think it’s important for people to have access to a local outdoor space. I really enjoy getting to use my cooking skills at Bath City Farm. I enjoy teaching the group how to cook different recipes, and helping to build their confidence with cooking in the kitchen. Group members enjoy working together and being part of a team. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere where volunteers can improve their personal development.”
Volunteers at Bath City Farm had these things to say about the farm:
“Everybody enjoys their work and it creates a fabulous atmosphere. Staff and volunteers have a huge commitment to the farm and take pride in what they do.”
“It’s fun, we make stuff and learn about food. I like being at the farm. ”
“I found out about the farm from word of mouth. I like coming here, everybody is friendly.”
“I love all of it, the people, the animals, the atmosphere. I love it.”
“We can all work together in a team. It’s lovely being able to visit and look after the animals. A very special part of my life.”
“Everybody is down to earth.”
“I love being outdoors. I do general volunteering which involves feeding the animals, changing their bedding weekly and collecting eggs from the chickens to sell in the farm shop.”
One volunteer described Bath City Farm as “a slice of heaven.” After visiting the farm today, I simply agree.
There is no charge to visit the farm.
Bath City Farm
Phone: 01225 481269