Fordhall Organic Farm is always open for visitors; it is part of the Fordhall philosophy. Owned by a charitable community-benefit society, our farm is open to the public as an enjoyable and educational resource all year round. The farm was first opened to visitors by Arthur during WWII. Arthur and May decided to set up a country club at the farm for the officers and men at nearby Ternhill RAF station.
They had already been obliged to build a large water cistern in case of fire at the farm; ingeniously, Arthur designed and built it as a swimming pool. This became one of the country club’s main attractions, along with archery, a lawn tennis court, table tennis, deck quoits, crazy golf, darts, bridge club, a Bechstein piano, and various other activities.
The country club was first opened in the late forties up to around 1952; to help finance a new pedigree Jersey herd, wanted for their rich cream and milk. Arthur and May worked all hours, entertaining guests and encouraging the public to visit. A children’s corner and riding school was added to the country club along with walks and organised birthday parties. This was closed when enough funds were raised for the Jersey herd and the farming enterprise regained their full attention.
Arthur and May later opened a customer visitors club after many requests from interested customers at their market stalls in Chester, Birkenhead, Stockport and Wellington, soon after they began producing yoghourts. Customers were charged a small amount to visit the farm enjoy some of the garden facilities, have cream teas and picnics.
Arthur also had numerous visits from parties of people interested in his dairy and organic farming system. Coach parties came from Stockport, Liverpool, Wales and, many other parts of the country. Arthur gave talks and farm tours to his many visitors which included the W.I. Eventually Arthur started to open the farm to school parties. (See ‘Arthur Hollins and Educational Visits’ February 9th).
Arthur also had many distinguished visitors to his farm. During the 1960s he had a visit from the High commissioner of India! The Acting Agent General and his wife from Victoria Australia also paid a visit to the farm in February 1965. Visits to the farm continued for many years.
Today at Fordhall Organic Farm Arthur’s open house philosophy is carried on with varied activities and educational visits to the farm. The farm is open to casual visitors who want to follow the farm trails and picnic in the community garden. We also have Arthur’s Farm Kitchen and the farm shop with its own butcher. Throughout the year there are many varied, exciting events, courses and workshops for individuals, groups and families. These include the spring Fordfest (music and beer festival), volunteer weekends, bread making workshops, Magic and Mystery (a Traditional Shropshire Halloween), Christmas wreaths workshop, Christmas carols at the farm, spring fairs and many others. To find out dates of forthcoming events click here.
Plus, Arthur’s youngest daughter Charlotte continues to conduct farm tours for groups of between 10 and 30. There is no charge for these tours, but they must be booked in advance. She engages visitors with the story of the farms organic heritage and its David and Goliath battle which now sees the farm in the ownership of over 8000 community shareholders.