Monthly Archives: June 2016

Following cows at Open Farm Sunday

Sunday was a glorious day and perfect for the annual Open Farm Sunday. It has been running for 10 years and is a fab event where farmers get to open their gates to the general public. I thought we’d just get to have a walk around the farm looking at animals, but to our delight it was so much more.

There were lots of farms to choose from that were open in the Peak District, we headed to Flagg Hall a 350 cow grazing based dairy farm who supply milk to Arla.

image
Looking towards Flag

On arrival we found out that a tour of the farm was about to start, which is where the proper adventure began! Rusty, the farmer, told us about different feed the cows have and then we started our walk out of the farm building area and into the fields. He had a strange contraption with him which was used to measure grass – it has to be the right length!

Walking on through the fields, it was beautifully warm with the sun shining on us. There was a light breeze and all around we could see field after field of shades of green. Gosh, we live in a beautiful place.

image
On our walk to the cows

Rusty and his friends were happy to chat as we walked towards the cows, which were a few fields away. E bounced excitedly along asking questions about the farm, cows and lots of WHY? It was great to see her enjoying herself, I was worried she’d not be interested as she can’t drink cows milk.

When we arrived at the field full of cows, all the visitors stood in a line and helped make sure the cows went the right way. As we waited for the cows to get themselves organised, I told E about her family farming history, her great great grandparents owned a dairy farm and her great grandmother has told us wonderful stories of when she was a little girl delivering milk all around Plymouth “I remember when this was all fields”…

All we needed was one cow to start on the path to the farm and the rest would follow… eventually after some expert yelling from Rusty one cow headed through the gate and the rest followed – moooooing away!

We watched the  cows heading down the path, snaking in a long line, all walking by themselves. It was a surprising sight, I didn’t quite know what to expect – more herding I guess – the cows definitely knew where they were going.

image
Long cow trail

We followed behind, trying to avoid the smelly poo glistening in the sunshine. It was a sticky walk, but much better than being in front at the cows chasing us along.

Back at the farm we were able to go and watch the milking in action. As a breastfeeding mum who has used a breast pump it was fascinating – I’d love to get that much milk out in a few minutes!

image
Milking time

After milking time we pottered around the farm a bit more, taking in sheep shearing, some stern looking bulls, relaxed over a cream tea (yum) and picked up an Arla goody bag with stickers, children’s activity sheets and free milk.

image
Watching sheep shearing
image
A serious looking bull

It was a mooovellous afternoon, make a note in your diary for next year, we’ll be going again.

Here’s to our next adventure!

Michelle x