Please feed the an­i­mals

Ivor Bad­diel en­joys an eco-con­scious, child-friendly hol­i­day down on the farm

The Jewish Chronicle - - TRAVEL -

ASIDE FROM 40 years in the wilder­ness, J e ws are not the keen­est of campers, pre­fer­ring in the main the com­forts of Mar­bella and Tel Aviv. But, thanks to Feather Down Farm Days, that might be about to change. Feather Down Farm Days bills it­self as, “the most unique hol­i­day ex­pe­ri­ence in Bri­tain”. A lofty claim when, es­sen­tially, it is camp­ing on a farm, but hav­ing just sam­pled its for­mula, I can re­port that it is in­deed a unique ex­pe­ri­ence and, fur­ther­more one that is ex­hil­a­rat­ing, re­lax­ing and — cru­cially in this day and age — eco-friendly.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion hit the UK last year, when nine farms of­fered the ex­pe­ri­ence, and cur­rently there are 13 on its books, stretch­ing from Corn­wall to East Loth­ian.

While the set-up on each farm is es­sen­tially the same, be­ing work­ing farms, each of­fers a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence in terms of what is ac­tu­ally go­ing on, and of course, the ar­eas they are sit­u­ated in have their own spe­cific charms. For our Feather Down Farm Days, we ven­tured off to Pet­ty­wood Farm in Lin­colnshire.

The sight that greeted us on ar­rival was what I imag­ine a prairie home­stead looked like — eight, rec­tan­gu­lar brown struc­tures, each about the size of a garage, spread out in a semi-cir­cle, with chim­neys pok­ing out from the roofs.

Th­ese were the tents, but, hav­ing spent a goodly chunk of my youth un­der can­vas with Habonim , I can as­sure you they were un­like any tents I had ever in­hab­ited.

Each has a wood floor with a large main din­ing/cook­ing area dom­i­nated by a wood stove. There is a din­ing ta­ble and chairs, a cool-chest (a camp­ing fridge) and a cou­ple of large, rather comfy deck chairs, all ap­par­ently 1930sstyle Dutch farm­house furniture. At the back is a toi­let, a mas­ter bed­room, a bunk bed and a canopy bed, which is es­sen­tially a bed in a cup­board and a huge favourite with the kids.

The over­all im­pres­sion is most pleas­ing: it is clean, com­fort­able and, grat­i­fy­ingly, I didn’t have to erect it my­self. But, hav­ing drunk it in, the first job was to get that wood stove go­ing.

Each tent comes with a starter pack of logs and coal, but as any sea­soned firestarter will tell you, you need kin­dling to get a fire go­ing, and that meant grab­bing the hatchet and at­tack­ing those logs. And boy was it sat-

So­lace of the lambs: Art Jubb-Bad­diel does a spot of feed­ing at Pet­ty­wood Farm in Lin­colnshire

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