The last time that Britain was in a long-term economic depression, the top sit-com on TV was The Good Life, with the story of Tom and Barbara Good (geddit?) and how they turned their suburban back garden into a mini-farm in pursuit of self-sufficiency.
It’s beginning to look like a growing number of people in Croydon are looking for a 21st century taste of the good life, with backyard hen coops, over-subscribed waiting lists for local allotments, and of course, the now celebrated “Goat Man of Croydon”.
If the notion of your own fresh eggs each morning, if the word “smallholding” is not just a Carry On double entendre, or if you fancy bringing home the bacon, then a trip to Clear Barn Farm, about an hour’s drive from Croydon down the A3 to just outside Guildford, could help you on your way. And for anyone with younger children, it promises to be a good day out.
The 55-acre free range farm specialises in rare breeds of pigs and chickens (they also have some ex-battery hens), some of which are even available for sale, from as little as £3 each. “All our rare breed pigs are kept free range from the moment they’re born,” the owners, Tracey and Graham Longhurst, say. “They are fed on a GM-free diet and are raised to organic principles.”
A relatively new venture, the farm offers regular courses, while the farm shop, offering meat and other farm produce, is open from 10.30 to 4pm on Saturdays.
On Sunday, June 9, they are staging a pig-keeping course, while for those who prefer to look, and walk, rather that roll up their sleeves to get into animal husbandry, there is a farm walks and open day on Sunday June 17.
And perhaps most practical of all for frustrated farmers of suburbia, there are regular “Chooks in the Back Garden” courses. The next one is on Sunday June 24, from 10am to 1pm.
This course is run by the Longhursts, and is designed for anyone seriously thinking about keeping chickens as an alternative pet and which is also highly productive, providing unbelievably tasty eggs.
The course covers the whole range of topics that a novice hen-keeper would need to know, such as what type of housing to buy; how to keep the foxes out – vital information with the ever-growing urban fox population; worming and general health care; the different breeds and what’s best for you.
These courses cost £40 to attend, to include all course materials. For more details, call on 01483 811199, follow them on Twitter @longhurstsfarm, or visit their website by clicking here.
- Inside Croydon: A news source about Croydon that is not based in Redhill. Do you have an event or business in or around Croydon? Tell us about it by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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