Cheshire Smallholders Association


Event diary
Next meetings 
2018 - 2019 meeting dates for your diary.

24th September 2018 - Wild in the country - Dr Adam Caris

Dr Caris is the Wildlife Connections Project Officer for Chester Zoo.  Smallholdings and wildlife have a symbiotic relationship; we are inextricably linked to the world around us - Adam hopes to make this evening intereactive and we're very hopeful that this will be the perfect introduction to our new lecture series for 2018 - 2019 at Reaseheath.

29th October 2018 - 
Keeper's Cottage Produce - Katie

Katie is based at Reasehaeath for part of the week, but her other passion is Keeper's Cottage Produce.  Katie has made a name for herself keeping poultry and pigs and now has a thriving small business.

This is a link to Katie's Facebook page, please join us for a really useful insight into how Katie succeeded. 

26th November 2018 - The allotment growers calendar -
John Bebbington

Please join us at Reaseheath for one of the country's leading growers, who will be helping us plan our endeavours on the holding to create a range of produce for the table.

A winner of no less than ten rosettes for his produce at the Nantwich Show this year, John is literally a legend in his field.

December 2018 - no meeting

28th January 2019 - Ask the Vet

...with our longstanding and loyal supporter, the superb Jen Quayle B.V.Sc., M.R.C.V.S. from Rose Cottage Veterinary Centre.

25th February 2019 - 
speaker to be confirmed.

25th March 2019 - 
speaker to be confirmed.

29th April 2019 - Pond creation and field margins.

We hope to 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.

Tuesday 21st May 2019 - Site visit to Riverside Organic, Whatcroft, Cheshire.  

Please note - Tuesday, not the usual Monday meeting

Riverside Organic is a family run farm, wholesalers, farm shop, and cafe in Whatcroft, Cheshire.  Founded in 1966, in more ways than one they have grown and grown, catering for local residents, providing wholesale goods to customers around the country and delivering fresh fruit and vegetables to front doors.

We hope to confirm soon the presentation, tour and meal with one of the partners, Simon Bennett, BSc AEMM.  The meal will be approximately 10 per person and we have suggested to Simon a slightly earlier arrival time of 7.00pm.

Shipbrook Hill Farm, Whatcroft, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 7RH

Tuesday 18th / Wednesday 19th June 2019 - Royal Cheshire Show.

We hope to be at the Royal Cheshire Show again; our county's premier agricultural show.

July 2019 - Nantwich Show.

We hope to be at the Nantwich Show again next year in the Countryside pursuits area - please come and visit us at the show which hosts the superb international cheese awards - it's a cracker...We'll be putting on the Ritz...!

If all goes to plan, we will again be looking for volunteers for our stands at the Royal Cheshire and Nantwich Shows. If you are interested, please contact David.

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

21st May 2018 - CSA Sonar Detectives. site visit to Marbury Park - with Ged Ryan from the Cheshire Bat Group for a presentation, followed by a tour of the site, armed with sonar detectors to trace bats.

30th April 2018 - Poultry welfare regulations.   A look at the poultry welfare regulations with the CSA Chair David Golding.  As David also moonlights as me, your web editor, I could put anything here to tell you how fascinating the evening was......moving swiftly on....

28th March 2018 - Reaseheath Pig Group
Our meeting was hosted by Lesley Innes from the Reaseheath Agricultural Development Agency, with speakers Glyn Roberts and Tom Ivason, (From Garth Vets), discussing operations on the Reaseheath pig unit. and key veterinary matters in the pig industry.

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.