Tuesday 22 August 2017

Deen City Farm

As part of our trip to Morden Hall Park we also visited Deen City Farm. If you walk to the north of the park and cross over the tram tracks you'll come to some scrubland. Here the signposts ended but after watching where other people were going we decided to follow them. Thankfully they were off to the farm as well.

Deen City Farm is a relatively small set up but a very welcome one to this part of South West London. Since it was established in 1978 it has had a couple of locations before finally being able to call this part of Merton home in 1994. Admission is free but visitors are encouraged to give a donation of at least £2.

After a short walk through some planting we came to the first of the animals. Mr JibberJabber was very impressed and probably a little envious that the chickens had their own playhouse. Immediately it became obvious that why places such as Deen City Farm exist. We have an allotment and two plots adjacent to ours keep chickens and the Junior JibberJabbers have seen eggs being laid. They know where food comes but so many children living in urban settings don't know the connection of the food on their plates and how it gets there.

Next to the chickens were their poultry counterparts the turkeys. I wonder how many children know what a turkey looks like except when it is on their Christmas dinner? On such a warm day they were grateful for the shade in their pen.

I've seen many and marvelled at many bird of prey displays over the years but I've never seen an owl on a swing! Edna the owl is quite a character round these parts and in her cage she has her own swing which she flies on and off on her own accord. During the afternoon we saw her flying across the farm as she was let out for her afternoon flight.

There's a selection of some of the usual farmyard animals such as ducks and geese. They are hoping to build a better pond area for them. Out in the field there's also pigs and goats.

As with most farms they have some cows. I've read some extraordinary research recently from The Prince's Countryside Fund that reckons about an eighth of young people have only ever seen a cow on television! It really does show what a gulf there is between city and country living.

One of the more unusual animals is the alpaca. It is in the same area as some of the sheep. When we were visiting a group of children were being shown around by one of the farm staff. As they went into the area the staff member was talking to some of the children whilst the others had food for the animals. As the staff member had his back to the animals he didn't see what was going on behind him. One of the children decided to tease the sheep with the food which resulted in both of the sheep ramming him at the same time and knocking him over. The child got up and was crying. I'm not sure if this was because he was hurt, shocked or a mixture of both but one lesson he did learn that day was not to mess about with animals!

The sheep on the other side looked a little less threatening but I wasn't going to test their temperament after what I had just seen!

We left via the fruit and vegetable garden. The tomatoes were beginning to ripen as were the grapes. I later saw a garden vine on sale at the garden centre at Morden Hall Park but with a £500 price tag I decided to leave it in the shop!


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