At 2 pm on Chapel Field weather permitting (otherwise High Cliff). This is an open meeting. If you are interested in what we do or would like to get involved you are very welcome to attend. The AGM includes a great BBQ, a drink and excellent company! Please see our Spring 2014 newsletter for details.
7.30-9.30pm at 1 Prospect House. Come along and help us celebrate a wonderful year and the Christmas season.
Recently arrived on Kenny’s Field are four delightful Soay sheep and four Khaki Campbell ducks. The sheep will be invaluable for managing our pasture, provide good company for the goats, are natural shedders so provide wool for spinning and are the beginning of a new meat venture.
We’re delighted to receive the news that the Forest of Dean District Council is going to award a grant to buy some bee suits, a new colony of bees and an observation hive. This means that visitors and groups will be able to look right into the fascinating world of a bee colony.
We are thrilled to welcome Ava’s new kids Coriander and Clover. We completed our lovely new maternity shelter in the nick of time.
Don't forget it's our AGM on Saturday 23rd March, 12 noon at High Cliff, Blakeney Hill Road (it's the brick house near the junction with Hitchings and Loiterpin. We would love to see as many of you as possible there on the day. It was great fun last year and we hope to break the record of only 35 minutes of business before getting on with the serious business of eating and drinking and having fun.
Will be our mulled wine and mince pies evening. There might even be a bit of carol singing around the piano! If you’re local and would like to join us do get in touch.
It’s a very exciting time for our mummy goats because Ash the British Guernsey billy has come to visit! He’s taking his role in life very seriously and we’re hoping for lots of newborn kids in mid April next year. This means we’ll be enjoying plenty of creamy milk, yogurt and ice-cream for most of next year.
At the beginning of November, we had a Bonfire, Barbeque and Firework party. It was a really good night, good fun and the weather was dry, hurray!
We had a stall at the Forest Food Showcase and took along Bella and Blossom who despite our fears that they might find it too much, thoroughly enjoyed all the attention. It was great meeting lots of people some of whom have since visited the project.
In the summer we held a Barbeque and spent a wonderful evening socialising with our friends, work-mates and neighbours, at our incredible vantage point, overlooking the village, the River Severn , the Severn Vale and the Cotswold Ridge beyond.
Our first bees are now happily buzzing round the hill :) Last week a few of us met to set up the first hive and on Wednesday they were placed on the vegetable patch site on Chapel Field. They seem to be settling in well. Thanks to Richard for helping us to get up and running. It'll be next year before we start to get our own honey as we want to give this nucleus time to develop and get well established before we start to harvest. We'll be getting our own protective clothing soon so others can help check the bees. If you are part of the bee team or want to find out more, please let me know if you would like to pop up for a peek :)
The goat team have worked hard to erect a beautiful shelter which will serve several purposes. As well as enabling us to harvest more water the team will now be able to milk in the dry!
On a warm March day we held our first AGM. A speedy 30 minutes of business followed by a couple of hours of barbeque and socialising - now that’s the way to do an AGM! We celebrated our first successful year and eight new members joined the Growers.
To everyone’s surprise, two female goat kids have been born to our teenage goats. Ava and Ami each gave birth to a healthy female kid. All are doing well. Now the hard work starts as the team gets their heads around milking and learning all about how to bring up healthy and happy kids.
'Happy New Year to all our friends, members and supporters. We've lots of plans for the new year including bringing in bee hives, developing the composting area, planting the herb garden and lavender area, continuing to develop the vegetable garden and planting the orchard. We'll also be bringing in new chickens and possibly more ducks too. So it's all hands on deck with plenty of room for more to get involved, don't miss out on all the excitement!
Our two young goats arrived this month and are already delighting us with their antics and getting on well with the ducks. Ava and Ami were born in February in the Forest of Dean, a cross between a Golden Guernsey and a Toggenburgh, they form the basis of our new herd. They will visit a billy next Autumn and hopefully give birth to the first Blakeney Hill kids in Spring 2013. After this we’ll begin milking on a regular basis.
A group of growers enjoyed spectacular views and home cooked food on the new seating area at the top of Kenny’s field. Work to re-fence, clear and install new gates is almost complete so that friends and members of the project can really begin to benefit from easier access and use of the land. The wildflower meadow has been fabulous throughout the Summer and now we just need to borrow a few sheep to take the tops off in preparation for another wonderful display next year.
It may be small, but it was very exciting to pick our first harvest of peas! There’ll be much more to come over the next few months with potatoes, beetroot, beans, spinach, courgette, pumpkins, squashes, turnips, leeks and ruby chard all planted and growing well.
Digging has already begun on Chapel Field, our community vegetable plot and the first potatoes are in the ground! Work begins on renewing fencing and clearing the worst of the brambles off Kenny’s Field in early April. Sixteen free-range chickens were rescued from a farm that was going out of business and we are now enjoying our first produce in the form of delicious eggs. We’re hoping to take delivery of our first goats in May. Our first community fundraising event for the project is taking place at Blakeney Village Hall on the 16th April from 2-4pm, come along and give us your support.
It’ll be full steam ahead now for the Blakeney Hill Growers as we have managed to secure £23,000 from the Rural Development Projects for England.
We are now officially a Limited Company and have settled on the name ‘Blakeney Hill Growers’.
The funding bids are almost ready to submit to Rural Development Projects for England and Awards for All. It’ll be around 6-8 weeks until we know for sure if it’s full steam ahead!
We now have around 14 families or individuals from on or around Blakeney Hill keen to be involved in the project which is fantastic. There is still room for more though!
Most of us met together for the first time in early September and affirmed the core vision of an organic, no waste project, bringing back into use land on the Hill that is currently unused. As well as keeping goats, chickens and bees we decided to look into keeping pigs. These would help with the clearing of the land and also be an additional food resource.
We had the offer to use some additional land on the Hill, which was very exciting, and are currently in negotiation over leasing two other pieces of land on Blakeney Hill.
Over the next few weeks we will be writing a full bid to Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for start up funding which we hope will enable us to be up and running by Spring next year.