Hartcliffe City Farm: Reopening date announced as animals get set to return

Volunteers have been working hard to get Hartcliffe City Farm ready for opening next month

Hartcliffe City Farm is back up and running - and will reopen to the public next month with a special event inviting volunteers to help rebuild the attraction, which closed last year.

A team made up from a partnership between Windmill Hill City Farm and Heart of BS13 has been working hard preparing the 30-acre site after a lease was signed for the land from Bristol City Council in March.

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Having successfully applied for funding - including a £300,000 community ownership grant from the Government - the organisations have been carrying out repair works, creating paths and preparing for the arrival of pigs, goats and sheep.

Part of the site has also been turned into a city farm growing food which will be sold in the site’s cafe and provided in boxes for the public. In addition, Heart of BS13 has created spaces for flower gardens.

Volunteers work on one of the flower beds under a polytunnel being created at Hartcliffe City Farm

It is a complete transformation for the city farm which was left empty when the city council ended the lease of the farm to the previous managers, Hartcliffe Community Park Farm.

Speaking to BristolWorld, Steve Sayers, chief executive of Windmill City Farm, said the Hartcliffe farm was to reopen on Sunday, June 5 as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

The farm will then be open to the public six days a week, 11am to 4pm.

Mr Sayers said: “Our aim is to make a fantastic community resource for Hartcliffe which provides educational and training opportunities while also providing a platform for people to speak about issues like climate change.

“Hartcliffe is a bit isolated, it feels a little bit out of the city sometimes and it is an area with high deprivation - there are not many training and employement resources. We hope that reopening the farm makes a real difference.”

Pond and farmyard waiting for the arrival of animals at Hartcliffe City Farm

Work to fully reopen the farm will take place in stages, Mr Sayers said. It will start with the soft opening next month; the opening of the main courtyard to the farm and a parade for people to view the selection of animals.

The cafe will also be open selling hot drinks and food.

The next stage will see the city farm expand to its boundaries with the creation of a thriving community hub where people can learn about farming and benefit from food which is grown at the site.

Although some of the land is already being worked on - for vegetables and flowers - this will not yet be open to the public to view.

Mr Sayers said: “We do need people’s help - that’s why we are looking for volunteers with positions ranging from preparing gardens, brick laying and decorating.

Entrance to Hartcliffe City Farm - just waiting for visitors on June 5

“We hope that at our opening on June 5 we can present what we have done and what we plan to do, and encourage people in the community to come and join us and volunteer - we’re all excited about the project.”

The money received from the community ownership grant from the Government, will be spent on farm infrastucture, repairs to the site, new toilets, drainage and a tractor. Cash is also being raised through other grants and income from the sale of food and cafe.

Providing space for alternative learning provision will also bring in more money to help with the running of the farm.

Mr Sayers said: “It is not going to be Disneyland - it has been closed for some time and there is alot of work still to do, but we’re looking forward to opening the farm back up again.”

For more information, and how to get involved, visit the farm’s dedicated website here.