‘Alternative country fayre felt like a mini-version of Glastonbury’

May 15, 2017

FINE SWINE: Rare breed pigs Blue Bell and Doorbell captivate visitors at this year’s High Mead Country Fayre.

DUCKING OUT: This crowd of runner ducks ensure this turkey knows that she could only enjoy her own company.

CHILLING OUT: Dave catches me chillaxing whilst listening to a Fleetwood Mac cover being played in the tent behind.

POOLE BOUND: Dave shows his bird box that he purchased from one of the stalls. It will be going to a new home in Poole. The new owner will be very pleased to take delivery of it.

ALTERNATIVE FEEL: The yurt-style marquee where live music performed reminded me of a side venue at the Glastonbury Festival.

CRAFTY LOT: These stallholders were showing their skills at the High Mead Country Fayre. Dave is looking out for some bargains at one of them.


MAY is the month when the country show circuit swings into gear and my first event was a premier visit to the High Mead Country Fayre.

The venue on Ham Lane, Ferndown, is a community farm that provides a therapeutic rural environment that enables young people with learning difficulties and others to get some practical experience of horticulture, animal husbandry and wood work.

With all the hullabaloo of yet another election, this was an extremely welcome distraction from all the usual political false promises and celebrity virtue-signalling leading up to 8 June.

Dave Russell alerted me that it was taking place the day before and so we made our way down to Ham Lane not knowing quite what to expect. The sun shone through on the Saturday and many people were out, so we ended up parking in an adjacent road to the farm in the hamlet of Hampreston and embarked on a 10-minute walk to the site and I don’t think anyone minded or complained.

High Mead Community Farm featured a yurt-style tent for live music to be played and for children to participate in specially organised activities.

Topping the bill were pony rides and chances to get acquainted with the menagerie on the farm that includes runner ducks, turkeys, goats, Shetland ponies, Daphnee the Donkey, alpacas Bilbo, Charming and Bowie, poultry, pigs Bluebell and Doorbell and many others.

As a former agricultural student and employee of a nursery, the outdoor vegetable patch and sensory garden caught my attention and the polytunnels with the more exotic crops such as cucumbers, peppers, capsicums and tomatoes. It was clear that the ground preparation, sowing and planting must be wonderful for the volunteers to see the fruits of all their hard work. Structures and fencing have to be assiduously maintained.

Other stalls that were present included pottery; face painting; traditional crafts; a Dorset Steam railway exhibitor of steam engines and massages at the Holistic Hideaway.

The funds raised for this year’s fayre have been allocated for the farm’s energy use and through being more sustainable, the hope is that it will cut costs on their electricity bill and also reduce the farm’s carbon footprint.

One of the volunteers, Mark, says on the website of his experiences at High Mead: “In the last few years I have learnt so much and been enriched by the relationships from the co-farmers, volunteers, community and the public. I am very positive and looking forward to an exciting future with High Mead Farm.”

  • THERE will be the Potato Pants Festival on High Mead Community Farm on Saturday 3 June. The family-run event features home-cooked food, live music, a full bar and potato pants racing.

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