Wednesday, 17 April 2013


After a long , hard miserable winter, we are suddenly beginning to see signs of Spring.
The primroses and daffodils are blooming and putting on a lovely show in the garden and all over the meadows.
Lambs are appearing in local fields and finally the hedges and trees are putting out lovely green buds and shoots.
A red-letter day today as Steve and Harry let the Dairy cows out into their paddocks after milking.  This is the first time they have stepped on grass since September 2012!  Always a delight to see then frolicking about, kicking their heels in the air and bucking like broncos. How good must that feel!

We have been busy in the B&B with re-decorating and maintenance jobs, so all nice and fresh for the new season.  I have only 3 rooms to let this year, so everyone is now accommodated in the Barn next to the house.
We also have a self-catering flat to re-let , which at the moment is available for the Badminton Horse Trials week.  If anyone is interested, please contact us for more details.

Our nearby village Biddestone has been the setting for a movie filmed here in February.  Look out for "A Christmas Candle", which will be screened this coming Christmas. Lots of local people were used as extras and we were all treated to a pretty scene as they covered the village with fake snow.  The irony was, that as they were doing the technical stuff, it actually snowed for real.

We are looking forward to May which means a Bank Holiday at the beginning and end of the month and the famous Chippenham Folk Festival, which always draws a large crowd. Lets hope the weather will be kind to everyone this year.

I have been on a cookery course at Lucknam Park, specifically looking at breakfasts for our guests.
Even after having offered B&B here for 25 years, I still picked up some very useful tips and new ideas.
Am now making my own granola, which is proving very popular and lots of loaves of bread, which smell gorgeous when they are nearly baked.

Well must go and walk probably the most ridiculous collie on the planet!  Happy Springtime to any readers.

Kate Jones

Monday, 13 August 2012

Late Summer 2012

 August 2012

Well, finally managed to find time to update the blog - the months roll by so quickly!

Weatherwise we  have had a truly dreadful summer, with only a few decent hot days and endless days of drizzle and torrential rain.. My garden has been decimated by snails and slugs the size of mice; what we need is a return of  the Mistle Thrush and more Hedgehogs to control the explosion in their numbers.
The farmers have been finding it really difficult to grow and harvest their crops this year due to the heavy rainfall and the fields are like quagmires.
Fortunately because we are an Organic Dairy farm, the majority of our land is pasture for the cattle and the grass has grown really well .  We have finished 2 cuts of silage and it is all safely stored ready for the winter months.
The arable crops however have been a headache. They have managed to harvest one field of spring barley at the weekend, due to a couple of really hot, sunny days, but the other field is not ready and we are back to rain and showers.  The maize crop is struggling to grow at all and desperately needs some sustained sunshine and heat to fill out the cobs. Everyone is hoping the Jet Stream will move up to it's normal position soon and we can have a few decent weeks - better later than never.

The "Olympic Boost" has had rather the opposite effect on the B&B business and we have been quieter this August, than we usually are at this  time. At least this has meant that I have been able to watch lots of the Olympic events and have been absolutely mesmerised by the performance of Team GB. I also would like to congratulate the BBC on fantastic coverage of the Games and helping to unite the country and give us something special to talk about.

The cancellation of Badminton Horse Trials and then Gatcombe was a real blow to the local economy. However, the Womad festival at Charlton actually enjoyed good weather and was praised by all who went. The nearby village of Lacock has also managed to put on a Scarecrow Trail and a Beer Festival, which were well attended.
The Bristol Balloon Fiesta was a big success this year and the weather was kind, allowing a Nightglow and several mass ascents.
The August Bank Holiday will soon be here and we hope there will be an influx of visitors to Wiltshire over that weekend. Details of "Whats On" can be found on the VisitWilthsire site.
The city of Bath also have some exciting events in the coming weeks.  The Paralympic Flame will be celebrated and a Rio Procession will parade through the city . Details on

Bring on the "Indian Summer"!

 Footnote: We have found some Bath Asparagus growing in one of our fields.  Apparantly it was brought to this area by the Romans almost 2000 years ago and is the forerunner of the European varieties we see today. It is quite rare and only appears around Bath and Cirencester in small areas, so it is quite a find!

  Photo left  shows Rooty and the heifers enjoying a break in the rain.

Roy and small friend.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Springtime at Church Farm

After the long haul of winter we are finally beginning to see the first signs of Spring here. Bulbs are coming out all over the garden and we can hear lambs calling to their mothers in nearby fields.
The weather has definitely taken a warmer turn and we have seen lots of wonderful blue skies and bright sunny days.
Thoughts are turning to the garden and planning what needs to be done this year. Visits to the the Whitehall Garden Centre at Lacock will almost certainly be on the agenda soon.

The farm is buzzing with tractors preparing the ground for spring planting of crops and at last the evenings seem to be lighter, making longer days for everyone. Lackham College near Chippenham is running special Lambing Weekends, which are always a delight, especially for the children.

Our local Charity event , the Bath Half Marathon took place on a gorgeous sunny Sunday. They had a record number of runners this year and the winner beat the world record.

Our next big sporting occasion is the Badminton Horse Trials, which runs from 4-7 June, with a grassroots event prior to that. The 3 - Day Event is always busy, with people attending from all over the world.

Easter is quite late this year with Easter Sunday falling on 8th April. Lots of the local pubs and restaurants are offering special Easter deals e.g Biddestone Arms and Methuen Arms. Corsham.
After that we host the Chippenham Folk Festival, which is always over the last weekend in May and attracts guests from the UK and Europe. This is always a really popular festival and really unites all the surrounding communities.

In line with other parts of the country our local village Biddestone is starting to make plans for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. We have been granted an extra bank holiday, making a nice break over the first weekend in June.

For the musically inclined, there is also the Womad Festival at Charlton Park, which takes place at the end of July and is truly a global event.

If you want any more information about any of the above, please look at

Lets hope this will be a good Spring and Summer and that the weather will be kind.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Summertime at Church Farm Hartham

We are now in mid-summer and at last the weather seems to have improved.
We have enjoyed some really gorgeous hot, sunny days and have been able to sit in the garden and eat al-fresco, which is always a treat.

The men have all been very busy on the farm in the last 2 weeks. All the barley has ripened quickly with the blast of sun and there has been a race to harvest the corn and get the bales made and collected. Thankfully the rain held off just long enough this weekend, to allow them to get everything safely stowed in the barns.
The dairy cows are enjoying freedom out in the fields and feeling the lush grass under their feet. Apart from the inevitable biting insects, they seem to be very content at this time of year.

Roy the collie dog has had a bout of heat stroke - he just does not know when to give in during the hot weather and doesn't have the sense to lie in the shade! Luckily restored today and belting round the pick-up as usual.

There are lots of Gardens open round here, in the National Gardens Scheme and they are lovely to visit for a potter and usually a nice of cup of tea and piece of home-made cake.
Also all the National Trust properties are open for visitors and their gardens are wonderful at this time of year. Try The Courts at Holt, Iford Manor at Bradford on Avon and Dyrham Park at Dodington - all well worth a trip.
The school children are all broken up now and families are having summer holidays. Lacock village is very popular with all ages. Our foreign guests are all fascinated by the old buildings and the unspoilt treasures to be seen there.
Stonehenge and Avebury are also a must if you are visiting Wiltshire. In addition there is the West Kennet Longbarrow and The Sanctuary, next to Silbury Hill. So for all history lovers you should spend a couple of days in the area to visit all the unique sites in this area.

Bath is always busy and is alive with visitors from all over the world. This summer there is a new exhibition in the newly re-furbished Holborne Museum and there are also new collections at the Bath Fashion Museum.. Not to be missed at the American Museum at Claverton is their 50th Anniversary celebration of Hollywood Icons and features Marilyn Monroe's costumes and dresses. So there is plenty to keep visitors entertained.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Early Summer at Church Farm

We have just had a marvellous run of summery weather, which has been great for guests, but not so good for the farm. We are desperate for rain for all the grass and the arable crops. The farmers are just about to start cutting silage, which feeds all the stock in the winter months. However the grass crops are quite thin due to the long droughty conditions this spring; so the silage crop will not be very good this year.
The unseasonal dry, warm Spring has however meant early flowering Roses in the garden and lots more colour in the borders.
The Badminton Horse Trials were a great success this year, with the lovely weather bringing visitors from all over the world. We are now eagerly awaiting the Chippenham Folk Festival which takes place near here on the May Bank Holiday at the end of the month. There are always lots of events over that weekend from Castle Combe Motor Racing to Open Gardens, Lacock Scarecrow Hunt, Bath Horse Racing and Craft Fairs. All the National Trust properties in the area are now open and the gardens are magnificent.

If you are looking for a country break for Half-Term, look no further than Wiltshire with all its attractions. Come and stay with us at Church Farm, near to Bath, Lacock and Stonehenge and enjoy the peace and quiet and the wonderful countryside.