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Contact - Chris Franklin: Contact for Rescue animals, animal care, group visits, talks, social media  contact@caenhillcc.org.uk 07 816 816 125

Kara Robertson: Contact for press, media, photographs, social media shoutouts media@caenhillcc.org.uk 

News Blog

News and views from Caenhillcc

25th April

Here we are towards the end of another month, how time flies. How the weather and the farm has picked up too.

This week has seen a lively session just about every day as everyone works towards sorting and feeding and making good use of themed areas.

The sheep had their first treatment here yesterday. A great team supported the process rounding up sheep, sorting them all out, attending to all the lambs and finding out that we have the same number of ewe lambs as we do ram lambs! Who’d have thought it.

The work stretched us all but we were in there from start to finish. All is now calm out in the field and we know that each and every one of them has been checked over.

More planting this week so last night’s rain was very welcome.

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2247 Hits

21st April

Another week begins but we really didn’t see much of the weekend. A busy one with many people helping out with lamb feeding. Not long now, they are beginning to get stronger and bolder and enjoying the hay we have put in for them. How quickly little ones grow!

Once again the core team is setting a great example with their great skills they share here. Support for the animals, support for the CC Centre.

Today saw a table and some chairs arrive so everyone had to try it out - in the middle of the track. The lambs even had a run around it.

Not long now and the toilet block will be completed - what a great piece of work by a very special team member.

Lots of people planning events, visits, volunteering and courses here. Booked in a team for July already - how time flies.

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2116 Hits

16th April

A rather moving week! Several people have shared in the new births here at the Countryside Centre. Some getting stuck in to save a little life - a big learning curve with such wonderful smiles as the little one takes its first breath.

The team is going from strength to strength and some rather large groups here to help with lamb feeding. The little ones are loving the attention.

Now it seems that these poor little orphan lambs could go - home with lots of people -  hidden away in bags or backpacks -  even taken along as the office mascot. Now there’s an idea.

The weather has been very kind this week, just need to do a little more watering around the plants. The natural water collection in the large tubs is diminishing but we did have a little more in the sky today.

The peacocks are now roaming at large around the farm. If you want to see them, look up, they will be high up wherever they take a rest.

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2440 Hits

13th April

Well its back to school and back to work time for many. We just kept on going the whole time around the farm. It felt so much better when the sun came out to join us.

Today we still had a few young children here looking at lambs and feeding them as best they could. Not good to try the bottle out afterwards though - had to move the bottles quickly.

A good team around today and there was some planting help available at the start of the day. It makes all the difference to share the workload.

The toilet block is coming along in the best possible way, it will be in use soon thanks to a great team member.

A few youngsters here learning as they helped out with feeding times. There is so much you can learn as you walk around a farm. It is all coming out in blossom around here - and most of that is with the enthusiasm from those joining us here.

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2076 Hits

11th April 2015

11th April 2015

Spring joined us all this week and it had a really positive response with everything around the farm. Plenty of work going on and glowing faces each day.

The week began with 2 new volunteers who spent a day with everyone. Our project struck a chord with one person who returned on another 2 days giving time, effort and cakes to share with everyone. Great work. The boot wrestling session was particularly good after the pond digging. Now who is going to check those muddy hand prints to find the owner?

Several people turned up to join in the lamb feeding. The little ones are getting bigger and stronger and now have some real character in their faces.

Our team of young people on various credit schemes came along over the week. It is so good to help these young people on their particular pathways. Their work here is valuable, and we know it has value for us , the animals and them. Well done guys.

A little rain today did not dampen the spirits at all. It soon blew through and we were all enjoying more Spring sunshine.

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2088 Hits

6th April 2015

6th April 2015

Well that was Easter. It started with a cold wind and driving rain and ended with bright warm sunshine, so we all felt great by the end of the long weekend.

The farm remained busy with a few more little ones coming in to be part of the animal team and needing some TLC. It was good to see many willing hands there to offer their time and care. Also to bring goodies and even better funds to help our little ones flourish. Thank you kind people.

An early start with lambing around 6 am today. It was difficult to spot a problem quickly with the thick fog hiding the flock from view for several hours.

A good spot with a rather troubled ewe and 2 of us were on hand to have a real hands-on (or should that be IN) experience and save 2 little ones.

Later in the day they were playfully bouncing around the field in the warm sun. A great feeling.

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2027 Hits

3rd April 2015

3rd April 2015

It really has been a hectic week. We all moved rather noisily into Summertime, and the weather decided not to join in, just to howl at us. We all had to meet it head on, and came out smiling at the end.

The farm welcomed a whole host of young people on leadership courses,  Inspire project, and some to see and feed lambs today.

We also welcomed some 4 legged residents, of course they are new arrivals too, very new as all of them were born this week. The flock has twins and even triplets

A poorly sheep had to be helped with her new twins,and she is now coming along very well with the 2 little ones close by. Some little orphans were in need of some food and some care.

We are all looking forward to a little more sunshine, less mud, warmer days outside.

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2014 Hits

1st April 2015

1st April 2015

Wow what a week it has been - and we’re only about half way through!. No, there’s no joke here. We have reached April, no fooling, and we are rushing through another week.

Life here at the farm has been fast and buzzing. The sun has appeared much more than we had been told but the strong winds have come along to try our strength and our patience.

A night of howling gales saw the polytunnel give in and start to flap around wildly. It was the middle of the night, not a good time to be out there wrestling with it all.  A rather sleepless night followed by a busy day,

It was good to see the group from Youth Action Wiltshire here to share their handy work and take part in farm activities. The rain stayed away so no-one went home covered in mud, but all were smiling and chatting all the way back.

Today they returned to show a group from the Inspire project how to make raised beds, how to work on the goose house. So many keen and happy faces all glowing with the fresh air and with pride at what they had achieved.

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1991 Hits

New volunteer Kate visits the Countryside Centre and shares her experiences

The entrance to Caen Hill Countryside Centre is very easily missed. I did so, despite Project Manager Helie Franklin’s crystal clear directions. One moment of distraction to read a new road sign and there it was in my rearview mirror, one of those elusive little opportunities that only really appear once you pass them. I looped round and tried again, slowing and signalling as I approached the turning whilst hoping that the driver of the bus bearing down upon me had noticed my lack of speed. I took a hard slow left into what felt like a miniature lay­by, and a track opened up Harry Potter Platform 9 ¾­style to my left. On reaching the bottom of the track the sun finally broke through the morning’s rain clouds and Helie greeted me from the barn. I was relieved to hear that local residents of much longer standing have struggled to find the entrance, or even believe that it was there in one case!

“The Caen Hill Countryside Centre is a project which brings countryside learning to children, young people and communities. Located just to the west of Devizes near the Caen Hill locks and covers 70 acres of land.” I was there to see if I could add anything to their pool of volunteers, offering time and enthusiasm but precious little experience.  Luckily, it turned out that Helie needed someone to lend a hand blogging, so here I am blogging whilst we wait for fields to drain. The centre is at the start of a new phase of its life, and it’s an exciting phase.

The 70 acres of land has been farmed for a long time, but areas have been neglected over the last few years and there is a lot of work to be done. Much of this work has been delayed by the very poor weather over the last few months but a strong start has already been made. Chris Franklin’s father farmed here for decades, retiring in 2002. In today’s world, 70 acres is very small for a productive farm so the Franklins have adjusted expectations accordingly. Old fruit trees are being coaxed back into full life, and damaged fruit stored and fed to some very grateful hens. The remaining apples will go to Rowde Community Shop for sale. The dairy that last saw milk in the 1970s is being converted into a training centre and office, with an interaction centre to show the milking process. A barn stacked with hay stacks from last year’s hay and straw for bedding has plenty of sheltered usable space out of sun and rain. A disused silage pond will be cleared and reused as a pond for geese and ducks. Sheep will graze, orphan lambs will be nourished and there might even be alpacas batting their gorgeous lashes and making that weird alpaca sound. Wildflowers and nettles will be encouraged in support of the bees, whose hives enjoy some really quite special views.

Vegetables will grow, be harvested and nourish. Children will learn about our food and our farms,young adults will have the opportunity to contribute to the clearing and working of the farm, earn credits for qualifications, and be part of something truly remarkable. Adults can volunteer skills, time, equipment or attend the workshops and courses that run here. Helie’s commitment and vision are all­encompassing, from feeding the chickens to supporting disadvantaged young adults, to working towards the certifications that will allow these neglected acres to make a big difference to local communities.  Gangs of workers arrive on “day release” from employers such as banks and food producers, enthusiastically cracking on with the not to be underestimated amount of cutting, clearing and cleaning that precedes so much of the other work. Working on rain water handling is a priority too, with seven fields currently under water.

My appetite is truly whetted. I’d like my six year old to grow up with the same experience of and exposure to the rural environment that I had, growing up in Cornwall. I’m fortunate enough to have some time to give, and would welcome the chance to build some marketable skills at the same time (did you know there’s a green skills gap? http://press.rhs.org.uk/RHS­Campaigns/Press­

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2041 Hits

30th March 2015

30th March 2015

Summer time has started, we are all looking forward to the summer weather joining in too. The sheep had arrived quietly a few days ago, and it seems they want to share their new field with some new little ones.

The ewe started to look ready for lambing, then it got complicated. She actually had triplets! A big call for the mother ewe. A little help was needed and a big learning curve for some. A challenging day in many areas of the farm. Nothing to worry about, just the chance for several of the team to meet the challenges head on.

The potato crop was expanding in the crop area, but the rain from the past few days had made the soil heavier still. No more bingo wings, we will all have such strong toned muscles soon.

It looked like rain so it seemed a good idea to move the newly delivered wood into a dry area.

The race was on, who could make the best wood stack?

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2115 Hits

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Hot Friday shower time with our Emu’s and Caroline #emushower #hotweather #augustfun @caro_painter
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A Friday afternoon special mini rush hour thanks to Sarah & Luke for setting it up and making sure our animals are stress free #rushhour #minirushhour #cuteanimals @caro_painter
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Happy bumblebee and beautiful flowers #Bumblethesheep #wildflowers @MeadowInGarden @caro_painter

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Caenhillcc animals (caenhillcc)

Caenhillcc animals (caenhillcc)

‪Special treats for Rodney & Del thank you Sainsbury’s Devizes for supporting our charity #rodneyanddel #sainsburys @sainsburys
Caenhillcc animals (caenhillcc)

Caenhillcc animals (caenhillcc)

‪Evening crow from Ken who wants to know the time with you? #kentherooster #eveningcrow #whatsthetime
Caenhillcc animals (caenhillcc)

Caenhillcc animals (caenhillcc)

‪Violet, Bea and Benedict enjoying the outdoors #violetthecat #beathecat #benedictthegoose #cutekittens

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