Foxglove Care Farm

Foxglove Farm in Inkpen is owned by Simon Bastable, and together with his partner Kathe Davies they have recently launched the first Care Farm facility in West Berkshire. 

Kathe and Simon farm about a 1000 acres with the larger part being arable mainly barley, wheat, oats, turnips and sugar-beet which is used to feed the animals during the winter months. They keep around 600 breeding mule sheep, 200 Suffolk crosses and 100 pedigree Clun forest ewes which all lamb at the beginning of April. Their busy lambing period will allow students to be involved in the management and welfare of the ewe and her lambs from birth, until turning back out onto the fields with their lambs.

There are around 50 Devon Cross cows which calf outside during the spring and summer months. There will be the opportunity for students to observe the calves being born ‘out in the open’. Seeing how quickly they get up, and start suckling for the first time, can be a very exciting and happy experience.There are plenty of educational opportunities for students to get involved in the production of food and countryside skills. 

Besides their farming backgrounds, Simon and Kathe also have fostering and nursing experience, working with disadvantaged young teenagers and adults. They are also pleased to be part of the Countrymen UK network providing a service to men who have worked in farming/horticulture or men who have enjoyed being outdoors

What They Do

They offer a secure, non-institutional farming environment for disadvantaged young teenagers who are struggling in a mainstream school environment and for adults with mental health problems such as depression, bereavement and post traumatic stress disorders. There will also be farming-related opportunities for first time young offenders, attending courts – instead of receiving a prison sentence.

The aim is to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable people by providing the care of the land and animals with the care of people. They use nature and the country side for learning, engagement recovery, fun, health and well-being.

There will be educational opportunities and help to get the student back into mainstream school, further education, work experience placements and in some cases back into the workplace after a mental heath related illness. Keeping young offenders engaged with meaningful work will help to prevent the increasing problem of re-offending.

Activities include:

– fruit picking & apple juicing
– hedge laying, gardening/horticulture
– farm maintenance
– animal based therapy
– land based crafts
– nature walks and Conservation
– baking and cooking home grown produce
– wood clearing & collecting sticks
– building a camp fire
– making wildlife boxes
– selecting & preparing animals for showing

The Care Farm is also adjacent to a nature reserve, where rare birds and species can be seen, this site will be included in the Care Farming activities programme.

Referrals

A ot of referrals and funding is organised via social services, mental health teams & GPS. All groups must bring their own adult leaders/ supervisors and will work under farmer supervision.

You can also self-refer and self-fund.

Contact them

If you would like to enquire about volunteering or want to bring an individual or group to have an experience at the farm, please contact Kathe on 07738 464794, email foxglove.farm@outlook.com or visit their website: foxglovecarefarm.co.uk

Opening Hours: 10am – 3pm, Monday – Friday

Booking is Essential.

How to find them: Foxglove Farm is adjacent to Inkpen Common, opposite the Crown and Garter Car Park, RG17 9QR

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Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale