Briddlesford Lodge Farm, Wootton was the venue for two events over the past weekend.
On Saturday Briddlesford Hop Kilns Gallery and Heritage Museum was proud to present the start of ‘The Farmer’s Clock’ an exhibition of work by artist Joanne Hummel-Newell with work supported by the Arts Council of England. Joanne gave a talk on her inspiration for the work explaining how the rhythms of farming and natural happenings such as grass growing in fields and then turning to hay, formed the ideas for these new art forms.

Focused on farming rhythms governed by nature, The Farmer’s Clock combines a fibre and suspended paper installation with animation. Finely cut and shaped paper hangs from fine threads and with natural movement, as the wind would blow grass or hay, the colourful works come alive. In addition fibres, in the form of wool wound into patterns add vibrant colour.

The newly restored Hop Kilns Gallery and Heritage Centre, designed by Lincoln Miles, forms part of the working dairy farm on Briddlesford Road and the exhibition continues until Monday 14th September.

Sunday saw the main part of the farm come alive with this year’s Open Farm Sunday with some sixty visitors enjoying the farm visit which was backed by the NFU.

This family run farm has been in the Griffin family since 1923. One new feature is Pinky the Pig. After giving birth to 17 piglets on 26th April, 13 offspring now survive all of which are growing up well. Pinky and her piglets are raising money for the EM Hospice at Newport whilst at Briddlesford Lodge Farm.

Visitors enjoyed trips around the farm with guided tours led by members of the Griffin family. In the milking parlour visitors learnt that the milking cows graze on the grass in the better months, coming indoors between October and the Spring, as during this time the clay soil tends to become waterlogged.
Rye grass is cut and turned into silage which is used as a Winter and alternative feed. Maize is also grown and used for silage making.

Visiting children were delighted to see an hour old calf which was trying to stand and take its first steps. Weighing about 20kgs at birth they quickly learn to stand in order to get their first all important feed. In the first few hours the mother’s milk is richest in natural antibodies.
Tractor rides were undertaken by the visitors as were viewings of the cattle barns and the children enjoyed being able to sit in the tractor cab.
At the end of the visit tastings of the famous ‘Bluebell’ milk were enjoyed and there was just time for a visit to the farm shop.

Nationally farming accounts for some 3.5 million jobs. On the Island only a dozen dairy farms remain, down from 80.
For those who missed the Farm Open Day and who would like to visit this working farm, Briddlesford Lodge is running a series of Welly Days each Wednesday in July and August.