Magdalen Farm, Somerset
Set on the banks of the meandering River Axe on the Dorset-Somerset border, Magdalen Environmental Trust is an organic farm and education centre conceived as a landscape for learning. With its lush watermeadows and wooded valleys, its ancient oaks and colonies of orchids, Magdalen offers a liberating and inspirational environment for adventure, discovery and personal development.
For centuries, the land at Magdalen (or Maudlin) has been worked as a mixed farm. The field names - like home mead (meaning a grazing pasture) - tell us that sheep have been grazing these meadows since mediaeval times. The 50 or so hectares are divided into a demonstration smallholding producing fruit, vegetables, eggs and pork, and grazing land managed primarily for wildlife.
The woodlands and meadows are home to badgers, deer, rare butterflies and buzzards whilst the traditionally managed hedgerows blaze with wildflowers. A trail runs right round the farm, inviting you to explore Magdalen's rich diversity of habitats: including bluebell woods and five large ponds. To preserve local distinctiveness, the orchard has been planted with west country varieties – some 100s of years old.
The farm welcomes all visitors – from playgroups to senior management teams - for a variety of workshops, courses and eco-adventures. All their programmes are tailor-made and the centre can be rented for private groups and parties. Special education modules are available to primary and secondary schools – designed to fit in with the national curriculum - and care farming groups.
The site has a host of facilities including the Granary meeting space, a seminar room, dining hall and accommodation for up to 50 guests.
How to get there
By road: From the village of Winsham on the B3162 south-east of Chard, head towards Bridport and you will soon reach Maudlin Cross and Magdalen Farm on your left.