Share this page

Care Farming

At Mary Arden's Farm

Care farming is the therapeutic use of farming and horticulture. Through meaningful, practical work outdoors, tending land and livestock, care farming builds self-confidence, teaches transferrable skills and improves physical and mental well-being.

Participants are often people who are vulnerable and excluded by society. As care farmers, they are given the opportunity to learn and work in a healthy, structured and supervised environment. While connecting with nature, participants can gain social, educational and training benefits.

“I’m in a non-judgemental place and the animals have a calming influence on me. It helps to keep me well.”

— Care Farming Participant

Care Farming at Mary Arden’s Farm

Please note that we are currently not taking on any new clients at this time, but do get in touch to provide us with your details so we can contact you with any future developments. 

Mary Arden’s Farm was the home of William Shakespeare’s mother, and is now open to the public as an historical visitor attraction. The site is situated on 20 acres of organic farmland.

Through our Care Farming program we offer a range of indoor and outdoor tasks all year round, relating to livestock care, horticulture and rural crafts. Activities and sessions can be tailored to suit to individual/group requirements.

We hold certification with Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS)

Prospective clients are invited to visit Mary Arden’s Farm for a free taster session to help them decide if this is an environment they feel they would thrive in. 

Session fees start from £40/client/session.

We recommend a minimum of 1 session (lasting up to one whole day) per week, for 4 consecutive weeks.

“I have seen the students self-esteem and confidence rise. This is a vital part of their development and learning and these soft outcome opportunities are a vital aspect of our students learning.”

Activities

Some of the activities that may be undertaken by Care Farming participants:

  • Animal husbandry – mucking out, feeding, grooming, exercising.  We have small numbers of a variety of livestock – pigs, sheep, cattle, poultry, goats, rabbits and equines.  It’s great therapy.
  • Site maintenance – There’s always lots of clearing up, tidying and repairs to do throughout the year.  Anything from clearing away brush, sweeping barns or re-roofing a stable and our brilliant farm helpers keep coming to help out.  The physical work in the fresh air clear away the cobwebs and the camaraderie always make it good fun.
  • Gardening & composting – If you’re keen on plants then there’s loads of gardening going on.  We have knowledgeable and experienced gardeners on staff and there are a variety of jobs to do:  weeding, planting and harvesting food crops, processing crops to make dyes and composting, weaving the willow tunnel.
  • Crafts & Textiles – If getting crafty is more your style then have a go at peg loom weaving or basket making or more wood related activities such as pole lathing or spoon carving.  An advantage to these is that they can be done indoors and most are very portable.  Farm helpers can also make and take items home and that’s really satisfying!
  • Living History – If you like talking to people and want to learn more about Tudor life, you could get into period costume and help our period interpreters as they go about their daily tasks.  These could be animal-related or craft based. 

How to Apply

Please note we are not currently not taking on any new clients at this time, but do get in touch to provide us with your details so we can contact you with any future developments. 

Applications must be made by referral through a support worker, health team or education department.

Applicants and support workers will be contacted to discuss their requirements and invited to visit the farm for a taster session.

After successful completion of a site tour and taster session plus all required documentation, applicants will be enrolled onto the care farming program.

Contact Us

Emma Birks, HR Department, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Tel: +44 (0)1789 338474

Email: carefarming@shakespeare.org.uk

Download more about Care Farming

Care Farming Info Pack
This is where the story began Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a working Tudor Farm Relive Shakespeare’s love story Walk in Shakespeare's footsteps The home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna