Two farms open gates to the public

Visiting one farm on Open Farm Sunday is a brilliant idea which has great benefits for your health and wellbeing. Visiting two is even better.

And this year you can do just that as Barstobrick and Balmangan Farms open their gates to the public on Sunday, June 17.

At Barstobrick, in the hills above Ringford, you can take a tour with farmer Robin Austin. His 650-acre farm raises sheep and cattle as well as providing plenty of places for wildlife to make their home.

Robin said: “This is the first time we’ve taken part in Open Farm Sunday and I’m looking forward to welcoming lots of visitors.

“Research shows that spending time on a farm and making a connection with nature is good for general wellbeing, mental and physical health and self-esteem.

“It’s a great day out for the whole family and everyone can benefit from learning a bit more about our region’s biggest industry.”

In addition to the farm walk, a visit to Barstobrick will offer talks on grooming and tacking up horses, sheep shearing, sheep dog demonstration and introductory pony rides.

There are self-guided wildlife walks, visits to the stables and a range of RSPB activities including pond dipping and owl pellet dissection.

Neilson’s Coffee Shop will be serving hot and cold food and a range of soft drinks throughout the day. Under-16s can enter the Stable Trail to be in with the chance of winning a half-hour lesson or trek (depending on their riding experience).

Meanwhile, at Balmangan Farm on the stunning Solway Coast between Kirkcudbright and Borgue village, Neil Picken and his wife Patricia welcome you around their 330-acre farm where they raise beef cattle and sheep.

A Visit to Balmangan will offer tractor-trailer farm tours, a display by the Twynholm Vintage Tractors, stock judging activities with Stewartry Young Farmers, self guided farm and nature trails, a Bangers and Burgers BBQ, country craft demo and you can enter the guess Spartacus the bull’s birthday competition to be in with the chance to win a two night stay at Solway View Wigwams.

Neil said: “We have been supporting Open Farm Sunday for three years; it’s a great way for us to let people know about just what happens on a working farm and for everyone to enjoy a day out in the countryside.

“We also take the opportunity to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Research through sales of tea and cakes.

“This year we have some free wildflower seeds to give away and a few of the lucky early bird children will get a free Shaun the Sheep Activity book.”

For further details about Open Farm Sunday please visit www.farmsunday.org