Southfields Farm

Woodlands School has a wonderful partnership with Southfields Farm. The farm is rented by John Plumb and in the account below he tells the story of how the partnership began. 

A young child once came to the farm.  He was unable to walk and had limited communication, he appeared to be in a world of his own.  The carers pushed his buggy up to the barrier where the cows were feeding.  One cow reached out her rough tongue and licked his bare leg.  He exploded with joy at this new sensation, and at that moment I could see the value of the farm to children, and those with special needs in particular. 

Years later, with Iain’s vision we have been able to formalise the relationship and we have the joy of regularly hosting Woodlands groups.  The bleats, grunts, quacks and brays of animals are now accompanied by the sounds of happy children. 

Southfields Farm is part of the Digby estate.  The Plumb family have rented the land since 1939, the main focus for years being milk production.  With the demise of the dairy industry we finally made radical changes in 2004, when we also began with Countryside Stewardship.  This included environmental development, wildlife management, public access, and school visits. 

Richard and I have been friends and workmates for many years.  Whilst there is no demarcation of jobs he ably fronts the responsibility for the Paddock and the Woodlands visits, while I do most of the mainstream school visits.  Ben and Lily too are increasingly involved in the farming as we pursue the ideal of teamwork and to fulfil our Biblical motto: ‘..but God made it grow.’ 

Welcome to the farm. 

John Plumb 

We are extremely grateful to John and Richard for all the fantastic opportunities and experiences that are available to our students. Groups from school access the farm every morning and afternoon. During the mornings Tuesday to Friday, Farmer Richard leads sessions. Students are collected from the gate across from school in a trailer pulled by the tractor. The Paddocks and surrounding fields contain a wide variety of animals and birds including goats, sheep, cows, donkeys, Alpacas, pigs, ducks and hens. There are opportunities to feed the animals, collect eggs and even walk the goats! 
A polytunnel and beds, allow for learning about fruit, vegetables, and flowers. Students can experience picking crops and planting seeds and bulbs.
A new weather station has been installed at the farm. We are able to access live weather feeds via this link. Please see link at top of the page. 
We can also visit the weather station and learn how weather such as wind speed, wind direction, and rainfall are measured. 
Our Forest School for Secondary students is located at the farm. This term students from Andes class have really enjoyed their visits with Charlotte. Charlotte is mid-way through her Level Three Forest School qualification and is planning to take other secondary classes over later in this academic year.