Great Wollaston Farm
My name is Robert Kynaston and I have farmed at Great Wollaston for most of my life.
Great Wollaston is a traditional, family-owned farm. We have about 120 dairy cows and we are usually milking 80-90 of these cows twice a day.
We grow the most of the grass and crops needed to feed these cows on our 200 acre farm.
We strongly believe that we are stewards of the countryside and that we need to farm in a way that is both commercially viable and friendly to the natural environment.
We also have several woods that produce all the wood needed to fuel the renewable heating system used to heat water for the dairy and the farm buildings.
The dairy buildings house solar heating panels that generate most of the energy needed to run the farm in terms of KwH although output is dependent on the sun shining so we are not free of the national grid.
The farm is a LEAF demonstration farm. LEAF is an organisation that Links Environment And Farming.
LEAF promotes Integrate Farm Management which includes environmentally sustainable farming practices such as leaving wide field margins for wild life, informed and careful use of chemicals and pesticides.
Each year we plant one to two large bird tables, half acre in size, with a variety of seed rich plants that will provide homes and food for a variety of birdlife. The farm has had a number of surveys conducted on behalf of the RSPB as well as training for recorders by Preston Montford field centre. We also work with Harper Adams, giving farm tours for their agricultural students and foreign visitors and providing support for their studies and surveys. In 2015 one of their post graduate students used the farm for a study on solitary bees which will hopefully continue in 2016.
We are also delighted to welcome school visits and other interested parties (care homes, etc, etc).
Each year we participate in Open Farm Sunday. When we open the farm to anyone interested in visiting a farm. Open Farm Sunday is usually in June each year.
In 2015 Wollaston Church volunteers provided tea, coffee and a range of baked goods and Arla and the Shropshire Wildlife Trust had stands promoting their work. There was a marked farm trail and tours around the dairy and farm buildings.
There is a lovely meeting room at the farm. It is used for a variety of community based events; church coffees, school visits and it can be rented at a very reasonable rate for training courses and social events.
The old bailer still makes small square hay and straw bales that are much in demand for seating for parties and local shows.
Wollaston is mentioned in the Doomsday book under the name Willauestune. ‘Willauestune being a marshy area and is of little value.’
There are still wet and marshy areas. There are pools in the woods which provide home for lilies, dragonfly, Great Crested newts and water voles. The main woodland is called ‘The Alders’ as these trees thrive in wet areas.
The farm is very close to Wollaston church. It is a small church dedicated to St. John the Baptist and immediately adjacent to the church is a motte and bailey dating from before 1086 and there are the remains of an Anglo Saxon village under the small field very close to this.
Great Wollaston farmhouse dates from around 1600. It started as a two room dwelling. These rooms are now in the centre of the house, with a Georgian addition at the front and Victorian back.
The brick farm buildings are Victorian. The bricks were made on the field in front of the house which has a pool that was the brick pit supplying yellow butter clay and at the east end of that field, there were coal mines that supplied the fuel to fire the bricks.
My great grandfather bought the farm for my grandfather in 1921when the small estate was broken up after the war. My father lived here until 1936 when the family moved to the family farm at Hanwood, and Great Wollaston was rented to the Vaugh family.
My father moved back in 1951 when he married and I have lived at the farm all my life apart from spells away for education.
The farm is in Shropshire, approximately 10 miles west of Shrewsbury. It is on the A458 which runs between Shrewsbury and Welshpool, just on the English side of the England/Welsh border.