Cheshire Smallholders Association


Event diary
Next meetings 
2017 - 2018 meetings.

26th March 2018 - DIFFERENT ROOM AND TIME THIS MONTH - Reaseheath Agricultural Development Agency

We're delighted to advise you that this month we have something a little bit different for you.  Our meeting on Monday will be hosted by Lesley Innes from the Reaseheath Agricultural Development Agency, extending and deepening the ties between Reaseheath and Cheshire Smallholders Association.

This month's meeting will be in the John Platt Centre for Agriculture at Reaseheath College, not in our usual rooms. Enter the college campus via the usual entrance, but instead of turning into our usual car park, follow signs to the farm / pig discussion group.

There is also a slightly earlier start time on Monday - 6.30pm for refreshments and registration, for a 7pm start. Lesley has kindly agreed to provide a light buffet at the end of the meeting, at around 9.30pm

There will also be two speakers giving three presentations on Monday : -

Glyn Roberts, (Reaseheath Pig Unit Manager) will provide an overview of their unit.

Glyn Roberts & Tom Ivason, (From Garth Vets) will discuss operations on the unit, including getting replacement stock - whether to use home bred or bought in – and the challenges of managing a smaller herd. They will also be discussing batch farrowing systems and the advantages of batch farrowing to a smaller herd

Tom Ivason will discuss key veterinary matters in the pig industry, including recent issues such as the future without Zinc Oxide – what are people trying? - plus antibiotic reduction targets; the industry's success thus far with this and African Swine Fever.

There will of course be the usual Q & A session at the end, followed by the buffet and a chance fur further discussion and networking.

Please join us for what promises to be a excellent evening, don't forget, slightly earlier and in a different room this month.

30th April 2018 - Pond creation and field margins

We will be joined this evening by Tony Seymour from The Farm Environment Ltd who design and deliver environmental measures on farms, estates and smallholdings in the UK and beyond.  Tony provides advice and help with projects like ponds, wildflowers, pollen & nectar mixes, field margins and hedges.  Join us this evening for a presentation by Tony about his work and a question and answer session.

21st May 2018 - CSA Sonar Detectives

We will be joined this evening at Reaseheath by Ged and (or) Chris from the Bat Conservation Trust for a presentation, followed by a local site visit - armed with sonar detectors to trace the bats.  Find out the truth behind the myths about these unique, mysterious creatures that dart through the night sky as they hunt for insects.  Ged / Chris will be delighted if we avoid "Batman" puns, so please do join us at Reaseheath  for this unique evening after dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner...sorry!

June 2018 - Cheshire Show.

We hope to have a stand again at the Cheshire Show, if you want to help out in 2018, please contact David Golding here.

July 2018 - Nantwich Show

Similarly, we will be at the Nantwich Show again, contact David if you want to volunteer at the world's biggest cheese festival in 2018!

If you are an existing member and interested in joining the committee, please contact David.

All meetings 7.30pm for 8.00pm at Reaseheath - see 'Lectures' link above.

Event diary
Previous events

28th February 2018 - Self sustaining soil We were joined by Colin Crawford, one of CSA's established smallholders, who explained a no dig soil strategy

29th January 2018 - Ask the vet We were very fortunate that our longstanding supporter, Jen Quayle, B.V.Sc., M.R.C.V.S. from Rose Cottage Vet Centre, came to join us again for this popular lecture, this year discussing liver fluke.

27th November 2017 - Hot Property Nicky Berry and her colleagues from the community policing kindly agreed to share with us a range of practical steps we can take to protect our smallholdings, our property and our community.

30th October 2017 - AGM followed by Janice Wood, Finnington Rare Breeds. Finnington prove that there is a place in mainstream agriculture for their traditional breeds and showed that there is a growing market for quality stock, either for breeding or fattening.

25th September 2017 - Blackberry Alpacas. This evening we were joined by Harvey from Blackberry Alpacas, who provided us with an insight into breeding and keeping these fascinating animals.

18th June 2017 - Tour of John Bebbington's award winning allotment.
- Guided tour by John and Coral Bebbington.

24th May 2017 - Site visit to South Cheshire Barn Owl Trust - Guided walk around the South Cheshire Barn Owl trust site near Audlem.

27th March 2017 - The (ice) cream of the crop -  Kitty Sadler from Snugbury's Ice Cream, Nantwich showed us how Snugbury's has become such a local success with a participative presentation and tasting of Snugbury's ice cream.

24th April 2017 - Practical Poultry Keeping - Kerri from Springhill Poultry gave us a practical talk on poultry keeping, with something to learn for both aspiring and established keepers.

27th February 2017 - Dinner will be ready in ten minutes. John Bebbington, a locally based judge for the National Vegetable Society, who grows award winning vegetables on a small scale, gave us a presentation and advice on how we can get the most out of our cottage gardens.

30th January 2017 - Ask the vet -
We were again joined by our longstanding supporter and sage Jen Quayle, B.V.Sc., M.R.C.V.S. from Rose Cottage Vet Centre. Presentation on Avian Influenza, followed by a question and answer session with Jen.

December 2016, no meeting.

28th November 2016 - Cheshire Beekeepers Association.
We were joined by John Goodwin from Cheshire Beekeeepers Association who gave us an intersting insight into starting to keep bees.

31st October 2016 - Annual General Meeting.  Also, presentation from Iain Clarke on seeting up a vegetable box business.   Iain, based at Reaseheath, set up a veg box business and shared share proven advice on growing and marketing vegetables on a smaller scale.

26th September 2016 - You are what the animals eat. We were very fortunate to have secured an exclusive tour of HJ Lea Oakes Aston mill. H J Lea Oakes are one of the longest established independent animal feed manufacturers in Britain, with a history dating back to 1675.

23rd May 2015, Site visit to Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
We joined the estates team at Bickley Hall Farm for a guided farm walk and refreshments at the farmhouse.

25th April 2016, Defra double act.  Presentation by Merewyn Loder from Defra with support from Lewis Holloway from Hull University, pointing out some key areas Defra are working on that affect smallholders.

25th April 2016 , Defra focus group.
Immediately prior to the April presentation by Lewis Holloway, Defra hosted a small focus group of 6 members to discuss a range of matters, with a primary focus on animal welfare. Report to follow.

21st March 2016, Round table discussion Round table discussion of current issues and the direction taken by CSA. We are hopefull that the original scheduled talk on poultry keeping can be rearranged in the 2016 - 2017 season.

29th February 2016, High Tension - Nigel Parry from Scottish Power gave a presentation encompassing working safely near power lines. Contact details will be added to the websites tab above to enable safe and proactive steps to be taken when necessary by members.

25th January 2016, Ask the vet We were very fortunate to welcome back our longstanding supporter and sage Jen Quayle, B.V.Sc., M.R.C.V.S. from Rose Cottage Vet Centre. Jen was able to address contemporary concerns about the welfare of our stock, in another informative session.

27th April 2015, President's address Arthur Green shared his experiences working with RBST and the CSA over many decades and his more recent work at his local nature reserve.

30th March 2015, Grandfather rights Only those born before 31 December 1964 who used an agricultural product on their own or their employer’s land were exempt from the requirement to hold a certificate of competence. A useful update from Joe Winstanley on how this affects us all from 26 November 2015.

23rd February 2015, Muck and microscopes with Jen Quayle, B.V.Sc., M.R.C.V.S. from Rose Cottage Vet Centre - Great practical session facilitated by Jen; no worm eggs found in the smallholders' samples but visual recognition experience was gained from the control sample – from an antelope!

26th January 2015, Parasite Management Planning and Ask the Vet Another comprehensive lecture and Q&A with Jen Quayle from Rose Cottage, covering the common ecto and endoparasites in the smallholding environment, with an explanation of the benefits of planned intervention in a parasite management plan.

December 2013, no meeting.

24th November 2014, Ifor Williams Trailers A detailed explanation of what Ifor Williams put into the manufacture of trailers and guidance around the regulations covering what we then put into the finished article; fundamental requirements, regulations, fitness to travel, loading and unloading, packing densities, partitioning and separation.

27th October 2014, Annual General Meeting followed by Cider Making. Report on the year's activities, with added audience participation, both electing and imbibing, with thanks to our home brewer, Kevin Holmes.

29th September 2014, BPEX and pigkeeping. Andrew Knowles from Bpex kindly reorganised his diary in order to attend and gave comprehensive responses to smallholders questions as well as advice, information and a practical insight into the issues being addressed by Britain’s small scale pig keepers.

21st June 2014, Annual BBQ. Kindly hosted again by Gill. Food, fun and friends; who needs Gordon Ramsay with words like that?

19th May 2014 - Vale Royal Falconry Centre. A presentation and hands on flying of raptors and owls, including an interesting explanation of historic words from falconry that have crossed over into common English language.

28th April 2014 - Campaign for the Farmed Environment - Nicola Hall.
Nicola, the Cheshire Co-ordinator for the CFE, presented a range of topics, including hedgerow management, supporting farmland birds and attracting pollinators.

31st March 2014, Grassland Management - Joe Winstanley.
Joe is an independent adviser frequently mentioned in the Defra farming advice service newsletters. Joe led an informative discussion about the management and development of the very basis of a smallholding, the land, sharing information on Nitrogen planning, grassland degradation, slurry spreading and compaction.

24th February 2014, Pig keeping.
Janice Wood from Finnington Traditional Breeds gave a candid insight into pig keeping and shared her devotion to the rarest of the rare pig breeds. Janice is Secretary of the Large Black Pig Breeders Club and the Chief Steward for the Pig Section of the Cheshire County Show and her partner Steve is also heavily involved. We were very grateful they could fit us in between their various committments.

27th January 2014, Ask the vet. This popular lecture returned to Reaseheath, with a very useful insight into the current thinking around vaccination of stock and a wider discussions around animal care and welfare from Jen Quayle (B.V.Sc., M.R.C.V.S. from Rose Cottage Vet Centre.

December 2013, no meeting.

25th November 2013, Caring for a small sheep flock.
We were very fortunate that Nerys Wright visited to share her extensive experience and knowledge, with very useful insights into ewe condition and feeding and the impact on foetal growth and lambing. After Nerys' presentation, we had a light buffet and raised further funds for our chosen charity, Send a Cow, with a raffle.

28th October 2013, AGM and member Q&A session with buffet.
The AGM approved the changes to the constitution as well as the normal formalities. The round table Q&A session after the AGM had a number of interesting questions and answers. Along with the nibbles a very enjoyable and informative meeting.

30th September 2013, Making money from a smallholding. Preparing a business case for a smallholding given the costs and profits from a variety of smallholding enterprises was our challenge. An interesting exercise as the cost and profit figures supplied were accurate. The results indicated that making a profit is possible but it needs careful consideration of the mix of stock and the generation of a continuing income.

Welcome to the Cheshire Smallholders website.

We are a dynamic and enthusiastic group of small-scale and hobby farmers, horse enthusiasts and countryside lovers. The livestock interests of our members include sheep, goats, pigs and cattle, chickens, ducks and geese, Many also keep horses and ponies, and a few llamas and alpacas. Other interests include bees, and fruit and vegetable cultivation.

Contact us for more information on joining the association or for any other enquiries

See the Lectures page for details of how to get to Reaseheath College.