About the Farm
History of the Farm
Our founder, Benjamin A Parker MBE, was brought up on a small dairy farm in the Midlands during the 1960's.
Over the last 40 years, Ben has witnessed children becoming increasingly detached from the source of their food, the rural environment and their local communities.
Having spent some time working with social services in the Salisbury area, Ben reflected on his upbringing and felt that creating a working farm may give young people the opportunity to connect with animals and the environment in the way he himself had enjoyed in his youth.
In 2010 Ben opened River Bourne Community Farm as a Community Interest Company.
Ben led an enthusiastic team of local volunteers in clearing what was an appallingly neglected site before development of the farm could commence.
Soon after the site was cleared, volunteers then began to build animal shelters and storage buildings. Slowly the heart of the farm was created.
Today River Bourne Community Farm is a successful education centre employing full and part time teaching staff. It is home to a wide range of farm animals, and is a popular meeting place for the local community.
Hands on experience for volunteers continues to be an important focus of management planning, including helping with the day to day running of the farm, cafe, school visits, and at regular events.
The Devenish Bradshaw Charitable Trust Water Meadows
In 2018 the 54 acres of Water Meadows adjacent to the farmyard were acquired with funds generously donated by Peter and Maggie Bradshaw. As a result of their generosity it was possible to create The Devenish Bradshaw Charitable Trust in order to secure and manage the water meadows in perpetuity. The trust is committed to the preservation, conservation and protection of the land and its chalk valley riverine habitats.
From left: Sir Christopher Benson, Benjamin Parker MBE, Mr Peter Bradshaw, Mrs Maggie Bradshaw, Millie.
The Water Meadows are exclusively made available to the River Bourne Community Farm CIC for educational, environmental and agricultural purposes. The farm is committed to providing maximum access to the local community in a manor conducive to sound agricultural, educational and environmental practice.
A Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship agreement has been secured meaning the Farm will be busy restoring the wildflowers of the Water Meadows over the next ten years. The agreement also helps to replace old livestock fencing, ensuring we can continue to graze the wildflower rich grassland before and after it blooms whilst also protecting the adjoining chalk stream – the River Bourne.
The Water Meadows are an invaluable asset for the farm’s education program with the ability to use them to teach primary and secondary students in agriculture, horticulture and environmentally based projects as well as for the benefit of visiting schools and local community organisations.
As the green lung between Salisbury and Laverstock Village, the local community are able to enjoy a peaceful walk along permissive paths running the length of the Water Meadows.
Find out more information on the trails here.
Partner businesses on the farm
Giant Steps Day Nursery
Giant Steps Day Nursery is located in the centre of the farm where children’s learning is enriched by visits to the surrounding barns, animals, tracks and fields where they enjoy the outdoors and the surrounding countryside. It is wonderful to see them all around the farm having fun outdoors.
Visit their website at
TWO Bird Experiences
& Education Ltd
Emily and James along with the bird team, arrived during February 2019 with an aim to share their passion for nature and give people a greater understanding and appreciation of birds, and the habitats they live in. Whether it be an experience day, a workshop or a talk they hope to give everyone an up close and personal encounter to remember. We couldn’t be more delighted to have them, and their birds, on the farm!
Visit their website:
Connect on social media @birdsatthefarm
Woodstock Therapeutic Community
Woodstock House operate a centre upon the River Bourne Community Farm site, offering vocational training and meaningful day activities to vulnerable adults with a variety of needs:
We will be offering activities/training in:
Education & Work (Access to Building Bridges & Wiltshire Council Adult and Family Learning)
Group training (Provided by Unite & Reflect Training)
Budgeting (Basic personal finance, budgeting, bills)
Horticulture (In conjunction with River Bourne Community Farm)
Group activities (Mindfulness, Managing Emotions, Relationships, Sexual Health)
Benefits Support & Signposting (PIP Appeals, UC Claims)
Animal Husbandry (In conjunction with River Bourne Community Farm)
Woodstock House established in 2012 with a 4-bedroom residential care home for Adults with enduring Mental Health issues by Vicky Walker and Laura Dennett, the service has since doubled its capacity to offer 24/7 care for our clients, we are a small staff team with a wealth of experience and individual skill sets.
Our service is led by the needs and goals of our clients all within the parameters of our governing bodies, we encourage our clients to engage in therapeutic activities both within the house and at the Therapeutic Community based at River Bourne farm, we are planning to plant a small orchard of mixed fruit trees as well as wildflower areas to help the environment and our client's wellbeing. The building of a community hub for people with Mental Health and Learning Disability issues will empower the clients to have the confidence to move forward in their road to recovery and build social relationships with their peers and the service will develop around the needs and aspirations of every individual.
Access to our services is made through Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Services and Wiltshire Council Mental Health Social Work Services both teams based at Fountain Way Hospital.
Please speak to your Care Co-ordinator or Social Worker for referral to the service.
For further information contact:
Billie Walker, Vicky Walker or Laura Dennett
Telephone 01722 417171