Features

‘Where London meets the country’

How Botany Bay Farm gives Londoners a taste of the countryside

A herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle graze in a field with a view of The Shard
A herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle graze in a field with a view of The Shard

As a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle graze in a field with The Shard and several other London skyscrapers viewable in the distance, the tagline “where London meets the country” feels apt.

The slogan has even been trademarked by Botany Bay Farm in The Ridgeway – and it’s easy to see why.

The farm shop has been providing residents with locally-sourced meat and eggs, fresh bread, and organic fruit and veg, for well over three decades. Some of its regular customers come from as far away as St Albans and Harrow. Botany Bay is particularly well known for its range of eggs – ten varieties in total, from guinea fowl to duck – many of which are laid by the farm’s own flocks.

Pictured outside Botany Bay Farm Shop are (from left) Tina Hamilton, Mary Gower, Andrew Ryde and Vickie Keeble
Pictured outside Botany Bay Farm Shop are (from left) Tina Hamilton, Mary Gower, Andrew Ryde and Vickie Keeble

Recent additions to the newly-refurbished shop are zero-waste food dispensers stocked with kitchen-cupboard staples, where people can fill up their own containers with pasta, rice and pulses. A new fridge also now allows customers to fill reusable glass bottles with oat milk, to take home without the need for packaging.

But there is more to Botany Bay Farm than its shop, and there are plans afoot to make the farm a local attraction where visitors can do a lot more than merely buy fresh food.

Five alpacas – Bill, Nuzzle, Scratch, Boycott and Tamar – have been living at Botany Bay since 2019 and are now being trained to take part in public alpaca walks, where people can lead them around the farm. Their fleece will also soon be turned into a range of products for sale in the shop, such as alpaca beanie hats.

Five alpacas have been resident at the farm since 2019
Five alpacas have been resident at the farm since 2019

Vickie Keeble has been helping to run Botany Bay Farm since she was a teenager, after her father Mick bought the site in the early 1990s. “I’ll always remember the day he got it – it used to be a piggery and there was pig poo all over the place,” Vickie told the Dispatch.

“Tina [Hamilton] has been running the shop for 17 years, it’s doing really well. Mick still goes to market every night to buy produce, he doesn’t get back until 3 or 4am.

“Most of our customers are from Enfield but we get some people coming over from Pinner and St Albans.”


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Botany Bay Farm is a regular supporter of local good causes, donating one of its turkeys to The Nightingale Cancer Support Centre’s Christmas raffle every year and also helping to sell the charity’s Christmas cards. Since last year Vickie and Andrew Ryde from local business Chamberlains Estates have also been organising two regular litter-picking groups, in Botany Bay and Chase Side.

Andrew, who helps out regularly at the farm, told the Dispatch: “I came up here one day and I really liked the whole lifestyle, so I started helping look after the animals, and then doing the business side of it.”

Another new feature of the farm is the beehives, which provide a regular supply of honey for sale in the shop. Andrew said learning how to manage the beehives was “a steep learning curve”.

Four beehives are another new addition to Botany Bay Farm
Four beehives are another new addition to Botany Bay Farm

He adds: “We want more public involvement with the farm. We want people to be able to access the countryside, because it is good for people’s wellbeing.

“We are looking at planting wildflower meadows and an orchard. It is about sustainable, economically-viable farming.”

For more information about Botany Bay Farm:
Visit
botanybayfarm.co.uk


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