A delightful day out: Bore Place
Set in 500 acres of gorgeous Kentish farmland, Bore Place is home to the Commonwork Trust and the Commonwork Organic Farm, a fully organic dairy farm. The Commonwork Trust works towards finding sustainable solutions to big problems, and does so using innovative farming methods. It works hard to combat environmental pollution, and its main aim is to educate the public about the hazards and issues surroundings farming today.
It was a day of tracking and trailing that brought us to Bore Place. Getting right down to nature and understanding what it was all about seemed like the perfect way to let off some steam and be outdoors at the same time. Arriving on site for a 10am start, we began the day with biscuits and drinks and a chat about what we might be going to see on the farm whilst the children made cherry wood medallions with their names on – this day was clearly going to be a good one.
And then, Wellington booted and ready for anything (we were going on a hare hunt – and a mouse hunt, vole hunt, deer hunt…), we set off on this wonderfully peaceful and fascinating family nature walk with expert Tom who would give us an up close view of who – or rather what – had used it before us. Tom had, in fact, set up some safe traps the night before, and took us to see what we might have caught.
We were lucky; two of the three traps heralded results – a bank vole and a field vole. The children’s task was to describe the creatures and then find them on a handy information sheet. They loved it. They were nature detectives, and it suited them all perfectly. What also suited them was making their own walking staffs from offcuts of willow. Under the supervision of parents and guardians, the children found their perfect staff, lopped off the twigs and branches that were not required, and even peeled away the bark to reveal the apple smelling wood beneath. By tying a length of discarded bark around the staff that would hold all the treasures (feathers, acorns, leaves) found during the walk, these sticks became ‘story sticks’, telling the story of the morning’s adventure.
The trail takes in all manner of scenery including the farm, meadows and ponds and woodland too. And in each different area there was proof that a variety of the county’s more secretive – sometimes even nocturnal – creatures had been around. We learned how to spot scats, which caused amusement for the younger contingent on the walk, but only until they became thoroughly engrossed (rather than grossed out) by the information they were being so skilfully taught.
And at the end we were given a tour of the dairy farm itself where, amazingly, we found a calf that had been born as we were walking the trail earlier that day. We saw it stand for the first time, and I know that this magical moment will stay with everyone who witnessed it forever.
A day out at Bore Place offers something for everyone; the fresh, Kent countryside is the main draw, and there are few places in the area that offer such an in-depth view of how an organic farm really works. You will learn something when you come here, every single time.