Term Dates:

We follow the Wiltshire Council School Term calendar, see here: https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/article/1684/Term-dates-and-holidays

We will inform you directly of changes to any days within term time, for example, if we are running staff training days and are therefore closed to students.

The Care Farms are not usually open to students during the holidays, unless arranged specifically as a bespoke package arranged with the Care Farms’ Manager.

Our History

The Willows is located on the old Mill Farm site in Broughton Gifford, Melksham. This and the surrounding land was very generously donated to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust by two benefactors who insisted that the land would be put to use helping children who face challenges in their education and wellbeing. Therefore, following on from the success of Lakeside Care Farm, The Willows opened its doors to students in November 2020 thanks to generous donations to our appeal. Money from the appeal enabled us to create the facilities and hire the staff team for the new Care Farm.

The Willows’ Facilities

Development and maintenance of The Willows’ site and facilities is ongoing. Our students, staff and volunteers do fantastic work throughout the year to build the site, which fosters a sense of community and shared responsibility.

  • A converted stable block divided into five rooms: large activity room, quiet room, kitchen, toilets and office.
  • Tool store
  • Polytunnel
  • Pig enclosure and paddocks – we have three Kune Kune therapy pigs.
  • “Willow World” – a large constellation of willow trees that encompass a fire circle at its centre and archways to explore.
  • Raised and ground level plant beds
  • Mud kitchen and “Water World”
  • Two large soil bunds
  • Private woodland – “The Whispering Woods” encompassing a fire circle, pond with decking and fencing, and Forest School area.
  • Access to large fields.

Future Plans:

Our aims currently include:

  • Placing bee hives in an adjacent field. The “therabees” have been hugely successful at Lakeside Care Farm in providing therapeutic activities for the students and harvesting great vats of honey which can be sold to raise money for the Care Farms.
  • Wiltshire Wildlife Trust will be developing the field that joins our The Willows site and woodland, running alongside the cemetery. The aim is to create a successful base for agroforestry and to model good farming practice which can enhance biodiversity, as well as be commercially viable. Earlier in the year, the Bristol Avon Catchment Project within the Trust facilitated the planting of 3700 saplings along the entire edge of the field, along with the help of our students and volunteers, creating a new hedgerow for wildlife. The next stage of development is underway as the fields have been ploughed in preparation for over 1000 fruit trees to be planted along 13 rows, spanning the length of the field. There will be a range of different fruit trees with under planting of wild flowers. Dog walking around the field will still be accessible.

Contact The Willows

The office is contactable from 8:00 – 16:00 Monday to Friday. We do not have an answerphone.

Telephone: 01225 782 627

Dean Sherwin (Care Farms Manager): [email protected] / 07887 758380

Our Location

The Willows Care Farm is located in Broughton Gifford, 1.5 miles west of Melksham.

For safeguarding reasons, visits are by appointment only. Please contact the landline or Dean Sherwin to discuss arranging a visit and for volunteering opportunities.

More about our care farms