Pathways Progress – 12 December 2016

Sundance at sunset

A few days ago, some of the guys were just finishing their stroll around the farm with the Alpacas when I noticed this scene. The Alpaca in question is called Sundance and I thought it was rather fitting to photograph him silhouetted by the late afternoon setting sun… and some people wonder what the therapeutic value of a care farm is! I rest my case.

Talking of Alpacas

Part of the daily Alpaca trekking experience is the chance to just get up close and get to know them a little. Alpacas are not naturally as ‘touchy feely’ as dogs or goats but, through regular human contact and loving care, we are training ours to relax when they are with us and even enjoy a bit of human attention. This closeness is not something that many people ever get the chance to do and yet, this simple act makes the world seem like a nicer and friendlier place. Perhaps it should be prescribed by GPs as an antidote to stress… now there’s a thought – Farming on prescription!

Geoffrey growing up

If you have been reading these updates for the last few months you will know a bit about our billy goat ‘Geoffrey’. I have always considered it a great privilege that one of our most popular animals was named after me, however, billy goats do start to smell as they mature (they have a technique for attracting females which I won’t go into here). It can be a little disconcerting to walk past someone as they say that Geoffrey is pretty smelly today! We now have a policy that the goat is Geoffrey and I am Geoff – just to avoid any confusion!

Despite the fragrance, Geoffrey is highly popular with just about everyone on the farm and he just loves attention (something we do have in common). He really loves being groomed and will stand and wait very patiently whilst being pampered – if you click on the picture (right) you will see a short video of one of his tricks.

Christmas swim

Pathways is proud to announce that we are one of the official charities for this year’s Christmas Day Swim. The money raised on the morning will be divided up amongst the chosen groups so please do get along to the beach on Christmas morning to enjoy the spectacle and to donate. If anyone is reading this and is brave (stupid) enough to get wet on our behalf please let me know and I will arrange for the registration. We can then gain direct sponsorship as well as getting a slice of the overall pie. Of course, if you would like to sponsor the Care Farm anyway please go to our donation section on the website (

The Broody Bunch

A few months ago we featured a short video of our little chicks who were then just a few days old. If you click on the photo (below, right) you can see those same chicks 12 weeks on… haven’t you grown!

and finally…

I couldn’t resist another shot of the main field in the autumn sunshine… did someone say something about therapeutic environments?

I recently received the following email which seems to suggest we are on to something:
“As a nurse practitioner working in primary care it is apparent that we are desperate for mental health services that allow our patients to access services in a timely way that will help them in crisis as well as in a more long term way – developing self awareness, promoting self esteem, coping strategies and developing self worth. Pathways Care Farm is a place that nurtures clients through working as part of team with animal and plants which, research suggests, has positive benefits for those involved. I have been able to witness this positive approach and would very much like to be able to refer more patients to benefit from this service.”

Just to finish, we are having a final work party this year on Saturday 17 December and we will be around from 10am. If you can make it we would love to see you.



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