The farm is particularly interested in combating social exclusion and providing a safe and supportive environment in which people can flourish and contribute positively to their community.
The People's Building houses the office, toilets, classroom, kitchen and community room. The Animal House provides a home for all the large animals and some of the small animals. There is an outdoor soft play area for the summer months, wildlife garden, a picnic area, two outdoor pig pens, two areas for ducks, a large and small chicken run, raised beds for vegetables, a community orchard, compost heaps, and three large paddocks for the sheep and goats. We even have our own Water Vole Woodland. You can also visit the Greenfield's Center which is a therapeutic horticultural project run by the Brandon Trust.
To meet the costs of providing free access and keeping the farm open all year round the farm is dependant on our funders and supporters and of course all of our dedicated, hardworking volunteers.
Lawrence Weston Community Farm is a community-managed project that aims to improve the quality of life for local people and it's service-users.
The farm does this by working with members of the local community, and others, to provide a range of innovative and exciting, educational, social, environmental, economic and recreational activities.
As well as providing opportunities to experience the daily delights of community farming and gardening, the farm also:
Brings people and communities together - make new friends, volunteering and placement opportunities, activities for children and young people, a safe and secure public green space.
Delivers education and skill development - hands on enjoyable learning opportunities, short course, accredited training, school groups . . .
Promotes environmental awareness - recycling, composting, wildlife, gardens, ponds, woodland . . .
Encourages healthy eating and exercise - wholesome food, exercise through gardening and practical work, cooking events . . .
Produces fresh, affordable local food - vegetables, meat, eggs . . .
Admission is free, and we are open all year round, so please come and visit us soon!
Lawrence Weston Community Farm is one of four city farms in Bristol. It is situated on the edge of a large estate in the north of the city. The farm was started by a group of enthusiastic local residents in 1986, on the site of a former Bristol City Council tip. The site was landscaped with new top soil and footpaths, animal housing and livestock were introduced. For a number of years the animals lived in wooden sheds and a caravan kept all the willing volunteers dry on rainy days. The farm became a registered charity in May 1995.
The People's Building was completed in August 1999 and the Animal House, dedicated to Margaret Wilcox, one of the founders of the farm, was also completed in 1999. There have been many challenges facing the farm with the worst incident occurring during the foot and mouth crisis in 2001, when a suspected outbreak that was later proved to be incorrect resulted in the culling of all the livestock. The hardy volunteers and staff at the time, although devastated by the loss of much loved animals, put their welly boots on, got stuck in and carried on. Donations from local people and far and wide enabled a team of fantastically dedicated volunteers and management committee members to ensure the continued development of the farm.
The farm went on to thrive and in 2006 the animal village was built, to house a range of poultry and small animals. In 2010 funding was received from the BIG Lottery Fund and English Nature to clear the woodland and create a wheelchair accessible footpath and bridge to enable everyone to enjoy the beauty and benefits of being in a wood. The rhyne was cleared during the terrible snows of January 2010, and the willows coppiced, bridge mended and path laid later in the spring. The local volunteers worked hard and there was a grand opening in August.
In 2011 the farm secured funding from Community Spaces to clear a disused bramble patch on some of the farm's land and create a Community Orchard. This hard work was carried out by volunteers from BTCV who cleared the huge brambles, and finished by 2 of our Gloucester Old Spot pigs, who rooted out the remaining roots, ensuring that the brambles didn't immediately grow back. Local children created the mosaics, and a large variety of fruit trees were planted, as well as some other plants that benefit wildlife. There was wonderful launch day with activities, farm sausages and the Ambling Band in April 2012.
In November 2012 we hosted the Whispering Woods Folk in our Water Vole Woodland for and evenings performance. Their firelit story with stunning trapeze acts in the trees on a starry evening for over 120 volunteers, visitors and supporters of the farm was completely magical.
The latest development on the farm is the new Community Cafe and Training Centre that is currently being built. It is hoped to be finished in spring 2015. Watch this space!
Lawrence Weston Community Farm
Tel: 0117 938 1128
Open all year Tuesday to Sunday Free entry
9.30am - 4.30pm
Closed on Mondays, but open for Bank Holiday Mondays