On the south side of Bath, high above the home of Bath City Football Club, Twerton Park, is an area of land the size of thirty odd football pitches. It’s a place that has been farmed since farming began and still retains its old field names.
Bath City Farm is celebrating its twentieth year in 2015. The biggest city farm in the South West of England this special place has amazing views across the cityscape and a wealth of stories about the lives of people that have been connected with it in the last two decades.
Home to much loved farm animals including Gloucester Old Spot pigs, Shetland Ponies and Soay Sheep, the farm has been doing its bit to connect a generation of Bathonians with farming.
The city farm movement in the UK is in my opinion one of the unsung heroes of the farming and environment movement. Through passionate staff and committed volunteers they have been doing amazing things around the story of food and the way that farming operates. For many of the 80% of people that live in towns and cities a city farm is their only link with the food that makes its way on to people’s plates.
I’ve had the fortune to spend quite a few days in the last three years volunteering at Bath City Farm and I have just become one of the trustees at the farm.
I take my kids to the farm too quite a bit – they love the animals, naturally, and the nature trail too. The dedication of the team at the farm is so inspiring; helping people at difficult stages in their life and giving people a sense of hope.
They also run loads of events for the local community from hedge planting days to the must-visit apple day in the autumn.
City farms serve a kind of dual role – part visitor attraction, creating rich experiences for people, and also fulfilling a deep social purpose. The story of the city farm in Bath reflects this – working with the long term unemployed, supporting people with mental health issues and giving kids access to the animals.
The biggest selling point for me about Bath City Farm is the combination of farming and nature. Its size means that it’s a brilliant home for wildlife: with copses, a beech avenue, gnarled old trees, hedgerows, steep hills and a lovely pond. This diversity of habitat in such a short area is enough to whet the appetite of any nature-lover.