The Quarries Farm

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Type of Farm

Grass crops, woodland and wildlife conservation with viewing hides, allotments, community growing and activity space.

The farm is approximately 100 acres in a low land area just outside of Bangor, Co.Down. The farm family stopped farming the full acreage due to mental and physical ill health. 80 acres of grazing land are rented to dairy farmers and 10 acres of grass land are sold as haylage and silage. A further 10 acres are woodland grown as a crop and 3 acres of mature woodland with wildlife habitat and viewing hides. Another 2 acres are rented out as allotments for growing vegetables, flowers and keeping livestock such as hens, ducks and geese.

Background

The farm is a quiet place to come to that is easily accessed from the town and feels a world away. The Quarries Farm buildings date from the 18th and 19th century, with the current owners’ family’s connections dating back to 1890. A variety of the old farm machinery that has been used over the years remain. Before it was a farm, the land was a quarry which produced the slate for roofs in the area. Over the years the quarry has been left to nature and a mature woodland has self-seeded there with ponds. The area now supports a wide variety of wildlife including badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, heron, moor hens, pheasants, buzzards, frogs and ducks.

A team of volunteers with a variety of physical and mental health issues help to manage the farm. Some are young people unable to work, others are older people who have retired. They take on the maintenance of hedges, pathways, growing of food to share, repairing buildings and creating hides and wildlife habitat.

Farm Activities Offered To Participants

Nature Conservation:

>Maintaining 3 acres of mature woodland, ponds, streams and 10 acres of newly planted trees. Turning the woodland into somewhere that will support wildlife and everyone can enjoy. This includes:

  • Making and maintaining pathways
  • Making bird boxes, bug hotels and duck islands
  • Putting up and maintaining hides and shelters
  • Collecting and cutting firewood
  • Planting hedges and stock fencing
  • Making signs out of wood and slate
  • Making sculptures out of natural materials
  • Monitoring and feeding wildlife

Horticulture:

Helping to grow in the community garden and polytunnels. This includes:

  • Making and maintain raised beds and growing areas
  • Sowing, growing, weeding
  • Harvesting vegetables and flowers
  • Composting

On Site Provision:

  • Eco cobhouse with cob stove
  • Tea barn with comfy sofas and a kitchen area with a fridge and cooker
  • Hand washing facilities in the farm yard and by the large polytunnel
  • Electricity and lighting
  • Compost toilets – one has 5 steps up to it and the other has a level entrance
  • Surfaced farm lane with a car park
  • Two polytunnels and open sheds available to work in under cover in bad weather
  • Farm paths are muddy and uneven

About Us

The Quarries Farm’s vision is to develop as a venue and community resource by bringing together people to learn how to use nature as a way to promote their own wellbeing. Participants are encouraged to create something meaningful, socialise and experience the outdoors together. The farm runs within the ethos of compassionate farming, practical self-sufficiency and permaculture.

The Farm Manager Peter McDonald has been contributing to activities on the farm for many years. He is a Landscape Architect with many years’ experience in working with, in and leading teams. He has a wide knowledge of horticultural practices and techniques and applications in relation to conservation programmes. Projects that he has run centre around bringing individuals together to realise their potential and have a sense of community. He works with groups with diverse interests and support needs. The focus of many of these projects are outcomes defined at the beginning with a flexible process allowing participants to take part without the pressure of a rigid working system.

The Quarries Farm is owned and managed by Peter Woods, his sister Joan Woods and her partner Tina Kersting.

Social Farming

Since February 2018, Peter McDonald has been delivering Social Farming sessions for South Eastern Trust service users on a weekly basis.

Since 2009 Joan, Tina and the other volunteers on The Quarries Farm have hosted and delivered Social Farming activities and have seen how outdoor activities, designed to interest a diverse range of participants, are a very effective way in which ‘positive contact’ can change attitudes towards stigmatised groups.

Where To Find Us

Helpline

Call our support line

Support Line:

0800 138 1678

(Freephone)

Chat to our dedicated support team who are available Monday - Friday, 9AM - 9PM

Voicemail and support options

available at all other times