We are located 4 miles north of Cirencester, between the villages of North Cerney, and Woodmancote. From A435 you take the turning towards Bagendon, go up past the Church to the T junction. Turn right towards Woodmancote and Scrubditch Farm is approximately 100 yards on the right. The Care Farm is situated down the drive, up the track on the left.
From A417, turn off at Perrotts Brook/Daglingworth, and proceed towards Perrotts Brook. Just before the A435, turn left towards Woodmancote. Go for approximately 1 1/2 miles and Scrubditch Farm is on the right, just past the Bagendon/North Cerney Cross Roads.

Saturday, 10 December 2016


Yet again i am starting the blog with an apology....!  We have had such a busy time since i last wrote
and now it's the Christmas Break already

The students finished this week, but we will be seeing most of them again on Monday as we are having our Christmas Lunch at the Village Hall - this is a great occasion and everyone dresses up in a Festive jumper (or hat!)

Back at the Care Farm, the animals are all ok - we still have 3 gilts for sale, and Sandy has moved back in with her boyfriend Perry (just as well as Perry had already broken down the fence and tried to force his way through the gate to her!) Let's hope this time she gets pregnant, as sadly that wasn't the case earlier on - if she is that will mean piglets in March / April time

Gerrhalt has worked his magic on the ewes down on the bank, and most of them have orange bottoms, aside from three that must have cycled the second time, and they have green bottoms!

Our lambs are up in Woodmancote, having a lovely time and being very well looked after by Ron who checks them every day for us

This week, we heard on the news about the threat of Avian Flu so, we have reduced the size of the hen run, and are netting the tops, to try and stop wild birds flying down and eating their food - we are doing the same with the ducks too....we will do this for 30 days, and hopefully this will keep a lid on it - i was on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Thursday morning at 7.45am discussing our plans!

Our Christmas cards have been selling really well this year - we keep having to order more - do look at the website

Sadly we had to cancel our Christmas Fair at Daglingworth Village Hall this time....for all sorts of reasons, but we will be organising a much better one next year.


Monday, 17 October 2016


Yet again....i have been a very poor blogger this last four weeks!  We have been so busy....Gerry and i have done three talks this past month - two to WI groups and one in Cirencester to the Ashfcroft Ladies Group.   We have now finally got a really good projector (having struggled to show good enough quality photographs before)  and it makes such a difference!  The talks we do are a really good way of raising our profile, and great fun to do.

We had an article in the local paper looking for volunteers recently, that led to RADIO Gloucestershire ringing and coming to interview us the following week!  We went out 'live' two days later....another great profile raiser, and our student Helen, and Volunteer Alan were brilliant!

Hazel's piglets have all been weaned and are ready to sell so we took four of them to the market last week (it costs so much to keep feeding them all) Unfortunately there were a load of really grotty dreadfully thin pigs for sale and so although they made more than any others = they still went for half what we can get for them privately.....a lesson learnt - we will know for next time.

Sandy is pregnant again and is due to farrow the end of November, so we will do some 'moving around' when the students get back to make sure she is in the 'nursery' in plenty of time.

Our veg boxes are nearly finished - we just have some tomatoes, and lovely 'flower sprouts' - a delicious cross between brussel sprouts and kale and pumpkins left....

The poultry have completely gone on strike - the hens aren't laying at all....apparently lots of people are saying the same thing - weather i imagine, but it's not good for our 'produce income'!  The ducks are still going strong - but only 3 per day instead of 5 at the moment.  I am off to buy some more 'point of lay' hens this week,  we may need to rig up a light of some kind in order to make sure they start laying before next year ....!

We had our third quiz on Friday night, run by Neil (father of one of our students) - it was a great success again.....a really fun evening - everyone brings their own food and wine.  The questions were very varied again and 'interactive' which keeps everyone interested!

On Saturday i took Christmas Cards and Jam to the Autumn Fair at Beaudesert School - they have chosen us as one of their 'Charities' this year.  There was a huge footfall so hopefully they will have raised a lots of money.   With any luck it will go to purchasing another second hand portacabin to use for a cookery room....another thing to tick off my '10 year plan'!
Our stand at Beaudesert Autumn Fair!

we are now on half term for two weeks. as it's such a long term - this gives us time to catch up with lots of maintenance on site, and plan for the next half term.  Alan (volunteer) and i are off to pick up 'Gerhallt' a magnificent Wiltshire Horn Ram this week ...watch out girls!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


firstly, the first weekend in September Gerry Rosie and i went to Moreton Show with our beautiful Pedigree Wiltshire Horn Shearling, Alice - we took Annabel for company too, but only showed Alice
we came a respectable 7th ......out of a class of 9!  The judge sadly wanted all the ewes to stand in line, whereas we had spent all summer term, practising walking Alice with the students!  She was very well behaved though, and we think we should definitely do more next year!

The students have all started back again, we have said goodbye to three lads, and welcome 3 new students this term.  It's all systems go, with Hazel and her 7 piglets; due to be weaned next week, and the lambs nearly ready to go off.

grown in the poly tunnel!
We still have some lovely produce to sell in our veg boxes, as the sun has continued shining in between rain.
does anyone recognise this?

Monday, 1 August 2016


During the holidays we still have all the animals to look after and lots of produce to pick and sell in our veg boxes!
sorry about these...can't get them to stand upright!
These are beautiful aubergine plants...sideways!

The shade area we made for Hazel to wallow in without
getting sun burnt!

Hazel resting before farrowing!
Hazel has just farrowed - she had 7 lovely piglets - they have been loving the sunshine, but now it's raining we will make sure the heat lamp is on to keep them warm

We have had two more lots of chicks hatch from our lovely dutch bantams, but sadly both our cockerels died during the last month.

The veg garden is brimming with produce; and we have now managed to keep the slugs at bay with copper tape round plastic bottles for the french beans - we have also been going out at night just before it's dark, rounding up the horrid blighters and putting them in buckets with salt and water.....not very kind, but essential as we have been over run with them!

The tomatoes in the poly tunnel are growing well, as are our cucumbers - we should have a bounty of them for September, when the students come back.

This warm wet weather has been a struggle to keep all the livestock healthy,,,,we have suffered with the poultry having lice and mites; cleaning out their housing religiously two or three times a week
And the sheep - a couple of our lambs have been 'fly struck'.....not a pleasant sight - but we have sprayed them both, and brought one back up to the care farm, where we can keep an eye on her, and give her some tlc!

Gerry and Kate have been running school activities over the past week and have 3 more days left this week - we have lots of school age children attending sessions to learn all about farming, and growing produce.  They have a wonderful time; and for some it's the only chance they have to be in this environment.

Friday, 8 July 2016

end of term already!

This half term has flown by....i can't believe we had our last day yesterday with the students for the next five weeks or so...although we will be doing summer activities during the holidays for school age children (look on the website for details)

We have had an awful month losing two lambs to pneumonia, and one ewe to a twisted gut - i think it's the weather...so much rain and not enough sun - until this last week or so

We have another bantam hatch 6 hens (she was sitting squashed down between one of the raised beds in the poly tunnel) and we have one sitting on eggs in the middle of the straw stack in the yard!

The lambs look fantastic - and we will be weaning them next month hopefully.  we sent off two of last year's lambs last week - they will be delicious mutton as they are over a year old now

We have our end of term lunch next week, where we give out certificates to all the students.  Sadly we say good bye to 3 of them this term, but will be welcoming 3 new students in September.

Sandy is looking forward to her 6 piglets being 'weaned' next week - she is getting a bit fed up with them eating her food!  They look great and weigh in at around 14 kilos each.....

We have started selling our veg boxes this week - beetroot, chard, potatoes & salad bags with fresh herbs

Saturday, 11 June 2016


At last ...we thought it was never going to happen - we even found a specialist pig scanner to come round and check!  Sandy farrowed last week - 6 piglets only this time - but at least they are all healthy!
Hazel is also pregnant - although she has been very off colour last week - refusing to eat anything / drink....we had to get a specialist pig vet to see her.  Richard, the vet, gave her a thorough examination, but couldn't be sure what was wrong.  He suggested buying a box of cereal and some milk, and putting cider vinegar in her water (she didn't seem to like that!) but ate all the cereal.  Thankfully she is now back to eating and drinking - although she KEEPS throwing her water containers over which is a real pain!

We have also had our final lamb....Scarlet one of our shearlings lambed late last month (she had unfortunately been covered by one of the rams on the farm by mistake!)  so now we have a lovely ewe lamb.

We had a really successful OPEN FARM SUNDAY last weekend - nearly 40 visitors and fantastic sunshine all morning.  We are planning two more Open Days next week for prospective commissioners and students.
Scarlet with her lamb!

We took two ewes (Alice and Mo) to Oxtalls Tennis Centre during half term for a BIG HEALTH CHECK DAY to raise the profile of the Care Farm - it was bitterly cold outside, but hopefully we will get some referrals!

Last night Gerry and i gave a talk to the senior British Legion group in Cirencester.....rather frustratingly we couldn't get the projector to 'focus'quite right so our lovely photographs of the Care Farm were slightly hazy - although no-one seemed to mind much and they all appeared to enjoy the evening!

Everything is growing like mad in the raised beds which is great, and we should have lots of veg
for our boxes before long

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Getting ready for farrowing!

ewes and lambs scampering down the hill
for their feed!
Emma (the vet) and
Alan drenching the ewe
We have had a busy week ....we moved the 13 ewes and 18 lambs down to the bank field, as they didn't have enough grass up here.  It was a tricky manouvre; we put the lambs into the small open top trailer, and normally the ewes run along behind - but this time they were more interested in eating ....and some ran off down the road instead of across the field!  a few of the them even got into the cricket pitch...(not actually ON the pitch i hasten to add!) We eventually got them all down into the field, and then let out all the lambs...they were thrilled to get some decent grass.  The lambs look fantastic in the main - we are still feeding them once a day on hard feed to keep up the milk supply for a while longer.  We brought Alice and Annabel back to the farm, so that we can continue halter training them.  Sadly one of the last two ewes to lamb; has gone rapidly down hill.  She was due to have twins, and suddenly stopped eating on Thursday - we've had the vet out twice, and been drenching her with a glucose/mineral fluid, and serious antibiotics, but she is still not eating any hard food.  She is out in the Care Farm Garden today and at least eating a bit of grass, but i am not hopeful about her chances / or the lambs....we rather fear she could be carrying dead lambs, or has 'absorbed' them...the trials of sheep farming.

Sandy is looking 'imminent'....i reckon she will farrow within the next 48 hours - i'm really hoping she doesn't start till Monday, when Gerry is back!  We have her in the nursery all ready, and the heat lamp is rigged up just in case....

We have another bantam sitting on eggs in the poly tunnel - the other one is out with the hens in the main run - unfortunately 3 of her 5 chicks are cockerels...!

We have had 4 chicks hatch over the last 24 hours in the incubator - let's hope they aren't all cockerels!

We have loads of seeds coming up in the poly tunnel, and have been planting out broad beans, and onions and getting the pots ready for sweet peas.  We have planted carrot, beetroot, and pea seeds out, and sown more salads inside the poly tunnel.

we were really lucky to be given funding for two new pig arcs that arrived from Devon on Thursday....our others were inherited second hand, and very delapidated, and definitely wouldn't do another winter, so we are really thankful to The Cotswold Primrose Trust for their help, and to 'Traditional Pig Arks'.
preparing woodland for the new
pig arks

all the buckets cleaned out after lambing!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Nearly finished!

Lambing has nearly finished.... 13 of our ewes have lambed and we have 9 ram lambs and 9 ewe lambs!  They are a cracking bunch of lambs, and are all out in the field next to the Care Farm.  There is a real shortage of grass though, so we are going to move them back down to the bank field next week.  We still have two left to lamb so they will stay up here, and we will (if she will come to call) catch Alice up again, and bring her back, so we can continue to halter train her with the students.
The students all helped today to catch the lambs, and separate them so we could worm their mothers....it was a great team effort.

We brought Sandy down to the Nursery on Monday ....it's all ready for her to farrow at the end of this month.  She is certainly looking pregnant again - so fingers crossed they will arrive the last week of April (if not before)  Hazel is with Perry, and so she should be pregnant too....we will wait and see for a few more weeks, before moving him out.

We have two lots of eggs in incubators at the moment; one lot are due to hatch this weekend.  We are trying a new method as we had such bad luck with hatching them last year ....no water in the incubator until 4 days before hatching, when you take out the racks.  Who knows whether it will be a success...i will keep you posted on that!

All our seeds are coming along brilliantly in the poly tunnel, and we planted out beetroot and pea seeds today, in the raised beds.  Each week, the students have been turning over the beds, and adding compost where needed - it all looks very professional, and hopefully we will get a really good cropping of vegetables for our veg boxes.

This weather is a real pain....really warm one minute, then pouring down with rain the next - and then freezing at night - nothing is growing quick enough for us.  Apparently we may even get snow on Saturday!

Thursday, 31 March 2016


We had our first set of twins at around 2am Tuesday 29th March!  I came out to check the ewes in the yard (we bring them in each night now so it's easier to keep an eye on them / keep them warm) and there they were...clever mum!  We have had a lovely big single ewe lamb, and one other set of twins so far....two or three others look very close and with the lovely sunny days we are having they should arrive soon (I hope,  as it's exhausting getting up in the night twice for days on end)
Mike at one of our Easter

Sad news, a good friend, and former volunteer passed away recently; Mike Hyams.  He was one of our first volunteers here at the Care Farm, and will be sorely missed.  He also helped out at the RDA at Coates, nr Cirencestser, and was the most gentle of men, and always got on so well with everybody.
Gerry and i represented the Care Farm at his funeral this week.
Mike working with Mark
fixing our recycled hay rack

Gerry and i went to a very interesting talk and presentation last weekend, on the history of Oxford Sandy & Black pigs...so we now know how the breed was started,and all the finer points on 'breed standards'!  We also picked up some 'Vorwerk' eggs for our incubator - let's hope we have better luck this year than previous years....watch this space!

Off to check on those ewes again now.....

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Happy Easter!

We have had a really busy couple of weeks, starting with our Open days last week.  The students were great showing our visitors around ...they are really proud of what they accomplish.

This week, we have been moving our livestock around - firstly, we moved Perry the boar in with Hazel...she was thrilled (not so sure about him...) although they seem very settled now.  Sandy is having a lovely time on her own and putting on weight - so hopefully piglets towards the end of April.  We will leave Perry in with Hazel for at least six weeks, to make sure she is covered.

We then brought the 14 lambing ewes back up to the farm.  They are amazing....coming to call and walking back across the fields with the students; straight down the track and into the field here!

Sunset at the Care Farm

Alan on duty!
Yesterday, we took the Annabel and Alice to a 'transition event' at the National Star College for the day, along with 4 hens and the bantam and her chicks...!  Gerry, and Alan were on duty with two regular students - they all behaved beautifully!

The other two ewe lambs that we are training have gone down to join their friends at Perrotts Brook for a week or so and then we will move them back to the bank.

The ewes should start lambing this weekend, so we will bring them in each night from now onwards.  They are having two hard feeds per day (approximately 1 1/2 lbs each) and hopefully that means they get enough to support the growth of their lambs.

Today to end the term we all had a picnic....in the poly tunnel!  It was the largest space inside and warm - we are thinking of loaning it out as a venue now....all the tables and chairs down the centre and a 'pick your own' salad each side!  Thank you to all our staff, volunteers and students that supplied cakes and salads.

When we start back again on 11 April, we should have lambs!  Happy Easter everyone!

Monday, 7 March 2016


one of our bantams getting a bit too friendly!
feeding the pregnant ewes


Friday, 26 February 2016

post half term break!

the students are back and at last we have some beautiful weather cold but glorious sunshine!
We decided the monday before half term was the very WORST day's weather we had ever had, and as it was SO cold and wet...we gave ourselves a treat, and cooked up some of the OSB sausages and bacon for break!    It's really hard to keep the students' spirits up when it's that wet and cold...but luckily we have the poly tunnel to plant seeds/salads in, and the portacabin to keep warm in.  We spent a lot of the morning, pricing up the bacon, sausages and pork for selling locally.

It was so windy last weekend that Perry and Sandy's pig sty blew up on end...they looked really pathetic trying to snuggle up together with nothing to cover them!  Luckily it wasn't raining ....and after much heaving Mike and i managed to get it back over while they were eating.
Sandy is looking pregnant we think, so within the next two weeks; as soon as Hazel comes back into season next door, we are going to move Perry in with her!  Sandy will then spend a bit of time on her own, before coming down to the 'nursery' at the end of March ready for farrowing in April.

The hens are all starting to lay again thankfully, and the ducks are laying 3 blue and 3 white eggs per day at the moment....we have taken some up to our local post office shop in Rendcomb to sell.
We've got a bantam sitting on 6 eggs (a bit early) but she is very broody, so we may have some chicks in a couple of weeks....

Yesterday, as the weather was so perfect we took the students on a lovely countryside walk - taking in our woodland.   We came back armed with lots of empty roman snail shells, fur cones and bits of wood for making an insect sculpture / mosaic in the garden.  It was lovely to be able to spend some time out and also get a good deal of exercise into the bargain!

When i figure out how to get the photos off my new phone i will upload some - i know YET again....i am useless with technology!

Sunday, 7 February 2016


We brought the ewes (and Tonto!) back to the care farm this wednesday ready for scanning.  They are incredibly well behaved sheep ...just two of us walked them back across the fields and down the track, and they went straight into the yard!  We managed to get Tonto separated eventually the following morning...although not without incident - he did try to head butt Mike and Phillip...through the hurdles!  But patience won out, and with some food in a bucket he walked calmly into the trailer.  We delivered him back this weekend to his rightful owner in Chedworth.
The scanning went really well - we are having 8 singles, and 6 sets of twins - this suits us, as singles grow so much quicker, and we don't want the flock to get much larger anyway.
All the ewes look really well, so let's hope we get some sunshine (after the next appalling week of rain!) to bring them on for the Spring.   By our calculations, we should start lambing at the end of March - so watch this space!.

Perry has been running with Sandy the sow for about 6 weeks now, so hopefully she is pregnant, and the piglets will be due at the end of April.  We will move him in with Hazel within the next month or so.. then hopefully get two litters this summer.

The hens and ducks are all laying well again - although it's a struggle with this weather with all the animals...so much mud!

We collected lots of bacon, sausages and pork this weekend, so do call in and buy some - we are open monday, wednesday & thursdays...ring first just in case!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Oh dear - not a good start...we are already nearly three weeks into January and i haven't done any blogging!
Lots has been happening - and thankfully we now have some beautiful cold weather.   Several of us have been suffering with the awful cough and cold virus...let's hope the frosts will kill off all the bugs!

The students were really surprised to see two new arrivals up the track when they started back ...we have Perry the boar back, and also Hazel, another breeding sow.   We are upping our pig production this time, and going to have at least two litters this year (if all goes according to plan!)
They are both lovely quiet pigs; the same breed as Sandy, to keep their pedigree status.  We are sending the last weaner off to the butchers this weekend, and hoping to sell Millie as a breeding gilt.
We can't keep her, as she is related to Perry the boar...but she should fetch a good price for breeding.
Charlotte leading Alice!

Gerry leading Alice!
The sheep all look really well - Tonto's done his job, and will hopefully be going back next week; just before we get the ewes scanned.  The lambs are still up next to the care farm, and Gerry and the students have been practicing leading 'Alice' around the car park and field, in preparation for showing her later this year.

We have three new students joining us this term, so are nearly full on the three days.  We also have two new volunteers doing a half day per week.

Finally, the hens and ducks are back laying again.....they got thoroughly confused with all that strange mild and really wet weather towards the end of last year!  We are hoping to incubate some eggs next month, and increase our poultry - let's hope its more successful than last year's attempts...a measly two eggs hatched out of 21!

Ducks skating on the pond!