The farm

This small 25 acre farm has been in the Breadon family for three generations. Fifty years ago it would have been typical of farms in the region with a small herd of dairy cows, pigs, hens and ducks. The farm has retained its small fields and hedgerows with numerous mature trees. There are many wet areas including traditional meadows. The fields have not been intensively farmed for decades and there is now an abundance of wildflowers and birdlife. There is also a small hazel wood and the river Colebrooke runs along the southern boundary, bringing a special vitality to the place.

You will get a sense of the place in this video:

Common Ground N.I. – The Folds of These Valleys from Common Ground N.I. on Vimeo.

The old farm buildings are being refurbished to create indoor seminar and group spaces which support the experiential outdoor activities that are essential to the project. Two byres are being converted into accommodation to enable a range of residential, educational and retreat programmes.  This development will be exemplary in its state-of-the-art sustainable and energy efficient buildings.

Also included is the former country shop that closed for business in the late 70s.  Common Ground will repurpose the shop buildings as a thriving community hub and in-house café selling a small range of items to residents including our garden produce.

Rewilding The term rewilding has an array of meanings within the project including  the remembering of our wild selves which is not anarchy but the next step in human development. On the ground it means the restoration of some of the meadows to traditional hay meadows.  This is now happening through a collaboration between Common Ground and The Magnificent Meadows project. This is a supported on a national level by PlantLife and delivered locally by the Ulster Wildlife Trust. In the Autumn of 2016 three meadows were seeded with meadow mix seed and the process is underway during 2017 with the new growth of the Yellow Rattle flowers. Other areas are being planted with indigenous trees including hazel, oak and mountain ash.

Sustainability

The farm will be managed according to principles of organic farming and permaculture. This will include re-wilding some fields and creating new habitats within the bounds of the farm.

The buildings will be a flagship for energy sustainability and use a range of cutting-edge technologies including PV solar panels, ground/air source heat pumps, reed bed waste processing and grey-water recycling.

The in-house community will operate on good sustainability practices. From an ecological point of view this means careful interaction with the land and wise use of the resources at hand. Common Ground will work towards the ideal of being self-sufficient whilst increasing biodiversity within the bounds of the farm. From a business point of view this means selective buying of green products and stimulation of a green economy locally.

 

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2 thoughts on “The farm

  1. cliona

    HI Robbie

    Looks like great work you are doing. I like the CPD and the way you’ve got training for professionals and young people and there are different ways to get involved including as a volunteer. Have you already thought of including ways for local unemployed people to join, perhaps offering a day a week in exchange for some produce from the land when its producing more. You’ve obviously done a lot of work on this project and I don’t imagine there are many if any other similar projects in Northern Ireland. Well done for having the vision and seeing it manifest. Good luck with getting it really established and utilised by the many who could benefit. Warm wishes Cliona

    Reply
    1. commongroundni Post author

      Dear Cliona – thanks for your support. Yes – we are considering how to make Common Ground as accessible as possible to different communities. The vision is for a lot of participation by local people – young people and the unemployed. I look forward to seeing you here one day. RB

      Reply

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