Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Community Business Weekend part three | Wild Outdoors Day at Windmill Hill City Farm


As any right-minded Bristolian will know, Windmill Hill City Farm is an institution. Whether you want an allotment or a nursery place, a place to hang with your toddler or a game of five-a-side, City Farm does it all. 


Personally, I've played football here, chased ducks and/or children here, held birthday parties here and bought a LOT of coffees here - and I don't even consider myself a regular. So when we spotted City Farm was holding Wild Outdoors Day as part of Community Business Weekend, I though I (and the kids) would be on familiar ground - which is good and bad. Yes, guaranteed a good time and no one minds throwing a few quid in a yellow bucket for a community-focused local business but, well, we've seen it all for free already, right?

The answer was wrong. A small entry fee (£3 for adults, £1 for nippers) saw us go straight into a reimagined City Farm where the usual car park was taken over by all manner of market stalls, selling prints, books and (yes!) Kabala Kitchen's vegan comfort food.


Trade was good as people moved past the roadblock caused by the ice cream van and into the activities. Walking past the live music stage (although stopping for Holly Carter's lush Americana set), we got to the familiar play area (renamed the Wild Space!) where our usual climbing was 'interrupted' by fun kids games with the Outdoor Play Team and wreath making.

All top fun but the real heart was in the farmyard, with stalls from RSPB, Riverford Organic Farmers and the excellent Avon Wildlife Trust who told the children about the sites, walks and the brilliant #30DaysWild campaign connecting people with the natural world in Avon.


Inevitably, more exciting (read terrifying) for our lot was the John Dowling Falconry exhibition and - somewhat bizarrely although in keeping with City Farm's eclectic vibe - a sushi making workshop with Masuyo.

City Farm has always expanded its remit beyond the obvious but it's the Community Gardens that have always been at its heart. Strolling around these was as fun as always, kids running between the herb gardens and not standing on anything honest. For Wild Outdoors Day, these were embellished with Wild of the Woods' nature storytelling plus Butterfly ID Walks and Magic Nature Wands.  


Whether familiar to us or not (and there was certainly enough new here), Wild Outdoors Day was a day away from screens and Minecraft - a date for running round with others, laughing at ducks and kicking balls; slouching on hay bales, listening to songs and learning about the wildlife sat on our doorstep. More importantly, the info we learned will genuinely take us out of the house and into the wild starting next weekend. If all this is what supporting your local community businesses can do, the only question left is why can’t every day be a Wild Outdoors Day?

About Community Business Weekend:
Community Business Weekend is supported by Power to Change, the independent charitable trust set up to support community businesses to create better places across England. For support and funding for your community business, visit www.powertochange.org.uk

Disclosure:
This is a collaborative post but – as always – I’m writing my own words.
Thanks so much for reading.
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