Paddington Farm Trust

We have finished at host number two, Paddington Farm Trust, near Glastonbury, Somerset.

It’s been a really interesting week, a huge contrast to our first host and an education in all sorts of ways.

I’ve already talked a little about the work in the previous post, along with pictures so this is an overview of the week rather than more of that.

We spent our time there feeding animals and doing general animal care including trimming sheeps and goats hooves, dusting the pigs ears and the chickens bellies for mites, walking the goat twice a day back and forth from field to yard, did some brash clearing, some burning rubbish, took some fencing down, put some fencing up, cleaned the feed shed, lit a pizza oven, moved some chickens from one area to another, drove the tractor around and got a really good overview of how the farm works.

We spent loads of time talking to people; M&T the farm managers who gave us an insight into how working for a trust and managing a farmland works, some of the other long term volunteers including a couple of foreign men who had stories to tell of other farms around the world they have stayed at, an ex traveller who is a whizz at green woodworking, a retired engineer who maintains the machinery, the teachers accompanying various special needs children including teens with behavioural, attitudinal and learning difficulties, a selective mute boy, autistic children and other special needs, the people at the food co operative that M&T are also involved in running locally and the other residents of the farm who run an organic fruit and veg growing business. We spent time talking to a man pruning apple trees in the orchards and all sorts of other visitors to the farm from weekend guests, nearby neighbours and ramblers taking the footpath through the farm.

We spent a fair bit of time in Glastonbury itself, a mere 20 minute walk away which has been an interesting experience as it’s unlike any other place we’ve ever been to. There is lots to love with a laid back air, plenty of spiritual stuff, lots of people hugging and being all peaceful but also plenty to cast a cynical eye at particularly if like us you are less comfortable around casual drug use and not quite so into crystal healing and the smell of joss sticks! It’s way before my time but this is what I imagine living in the sixties would have been like…

We’ll stay in touch with our hosts, it was a great place to spend a week, a chilled out experience after the full on living of the previous two weeks. Our first impressions were not great; the kids got involved in playing with a rather wild child who turned violent with them both which is simply not something they are used to so they were shaken and disturbed by that, we lived in the van without hookup so all evenings were torchlit and although we were given free rein to help ourselves to anything in the kitchen it felt too strange to go and help ourselves so we ended up buying most of our own food for the week which put rather a strain on our budget. But on balance we gained loads of new skills, new experiences and made some contacts that will hopefully prove useful in the future.

Finishing with bad, good and learnt at Paddington Farm:
Bad – less direction than the previous host in terms of what we were expected to do… but…
Good – the freedom of directing our own workload
Learnt – don’t panic, give things a second chance.


Bad – it didn’t feel like I thought WWOOFing would be because we spent so much time just the four of us rather than working alongside hosts and learning from them and eating with them at mealtimes.
Good – spending time with the animals on the farm
Learnt – that goats can’t eat rhubarb, that mutton is ‘old sheep’ meat, about fighting cockerels (the resident cockerel is that sort of breed) how fun tractor driving is

Bad – being hurt on the first night by a visiting child
Good – all the animals on the farm
Learnt – various things about animals including a first sign of an unhappy sheep is droopy ears.

Bad – a more expensive week as we spent money topping up food supplies
Good – diverse environment for learning – lots of different aspects
Learnt – about animals hooves, that there are jobs managing farms, how to drive a tractor

This post was bought to you using a Mifi from three

8 thoughts on “Paddington Farm Trust”

  1. You don’t seem as ‘up’ about this one, although your previous post seemed more positive…

    There’ll be ups & downs with every WWOOF, but it seems that you’re prepared for that!

    Hope you’ll feel more comfortable at your next stop…

    Kay 🙂

  2. it must have been nice to get a bit more free time, but it sounds like that casualness made you feel less immersed in a way. i look forward to your next update!

  3. Since you now have an area for book recommendations, you may be interested in The Story of stuff by Annie Leonard, it is quite different and more informed and indepth than the short film. Also Katherine Hibbert’s ‘Adventures on the margins of a wasteful society FREE what happens when you walk away from everything you think you can’t live without’. We are also Wwoofing and reading these sort of books, and we actually met Mark!! We are also dog/house sitting which is a good alternative/break between Wwoofing.

  4. But most importantly did you eat fish and chips from Knights? Hehe!

    Blurgh to the drug use- sadly Glastonbury attracts that. Hope the next WWOOF is good and you get to integrate a bit more (and spend less!).

  5. Wow, what a mixed bag of experiences. I know you’ll take more positives away than negatives, cos that’s the kind of fabby woman you are, but I hope the next one is more laden with happy things.

  6. @Anonymous ooh thanks for recommendations. I’ve seen Story of Stuff the video and it’s excellent (if disturbing), will track down those books.

    Kay, Nix & Jay, think I was a bit tired when I blogged this, we *did* have a good overall time and learnt loads – def plenty of positives to take away with us 🙂

  7. I have to admit I’d thought, from reading this and the previous post, that this was quite a full on place if only from the animal husbandry! I haven’t been to Glastonbury for years but when I was there was quite sad as it looked quite tacky and dead – tho there was a superb cake shop with the MOST amazingly decorated cakes in the window! Hope you’re enjoying yourselves where you are now Lesley x

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