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.