Working at West Town Farm has been like a dream come true, with my first few weeks feeling like a walking holiday in the beautiful countryside of Devon. I arrived to the stove lit, a bowl of delicious beef stew and have felt at home ever since. The holiday soon ended with extensive work being carried out as part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The Countryside Stewardship Scheme that the farm is part of aims to improve the environment and biodiversity on British farms. This means we have been busy putting up new fences, as well as, installing gates and additional water troughs that I hope the cows will be impressed by come spring.
It was great to see the success of the pumpkin picking event back in October, with everyone enjoying feeding the pigs and walking around the farm trail. The need to make our countryside more accessible has never been more important with the current pandemic exasperating issues around food insecurity and health. I hope I can expand on the work already done here at West Town Farm in a way that is beneficial to the environment, the local community and, of course, the animals. We are currently upgrading and expanding our farm trails, so stay tuned for the grand opening in spring!
We have lambs back on the farm, some of which will be available in the shop from the 23rd of December. The chickens have been rehomed after we made the decision to temporarily close down our egg operation due to the UK government's bird flu regulations. These new regulations require birds to be kept inside 24 hours a day and, without a suitable free shed, we decided it was kinder to let them go. Thankfully they have gone to a good home within the local community.
We have also been very fortunate to have help from two wonderful WWOOFers from the US and Finland, who will be leaving us at the end of the year. In January and February, we will be planting trees in conjunction with the Woodland Trust and carrying out some traditional hedge laying work. We will need volunteers for both occasions, so if you're interested in lending a hand, then please get in touch (a hot lunch will be provided).
There have been a lot of changes on the farm during this challenging year, with my arrival as Assistant Manager, other staff moving on and Holly joining us as the new Event Manager as Grace goes on maternity leave. The farm, like any natural system, continues to adapt, and we are ready for whatever challenges and opportunities 2021 will bring.