Suburban Safari: Spring worship on the farm 

Suburban Safari: Spring worship on the farm 

by Katie Isham. 

Easter is a time of new life, hope and a healthy smattering of eggs. Spending some time on the farm seems fitting. 

Aldermoor is home to a budding farm, just off a busy bus route and surrounded by a labyrinth of residential streets. Nestled in the dip of Aldermoor Road, the poly tunnels are coaxing new shoots from the earth and the ducks are on their daily slug hunt. 

But this journey starts about a mile away, at Lordshill Community Centre. Obviously, you can go straight to the farm, but where’s the adventure in that? Sure, the bus stops outside or you can park on Aldermoor Road, but Lordwood is rippled with pathways and waterways to explore en route. Half the fun is the journey, right? 

The main waterway here is Tanner’s Brook, running down to Southampton Water; join it to head south, meandering through the sparse branches of the winter-tired trees of this stretch of Lordswood Greenway. 

The path is pure woodland: mulchy leaves and soggy sections of varying viscosities punctuated by pipes exposing themselves as part of the waterway and even a crossing or two for the bridge fans. Just don’t expect ornate carving – these are industrial bridges. But even so, the wildflowers are creeping through the metal mesh to find the spring sunshine. 

Swing left as the brook does, taking a dip underneath Lords Hill Way. As the traffic trundles above, the stream trickles below. The concrete, railing and graffiti aesthetic might not be everyone’s choice, but it’s part of our walkway. The daffodils don’t seem to mind and hang around it in droves. 

The path then hits a fallen tree where a sense of adventure is needed to scoot under the still leafy branches. Keep going through the challenges as the path gets narrower and muddier. It passes the Aldermoor Leisure Gardens (allotments have never sounded so exotic) and ejects you onto Aldermoor Road. 

For those old enough to remember, the farm is on the spot of the old pig farm. No swine these days but plenty of chickens, ducks, geese, and evidence of burgeoning new growth in every direction under netting, in tunnels, on trees and stubbornly sticking out the ground despite the onslaught of April “showers”. Life is happening. 

In fact, the good people of the farm think of it as an “acre of abundance” and it’s hard to disagree. Our guide around the site noted that the beds are all becoming 3D and I can’t think of a better way to describe the excitement of seeing the seeds you tuck away magically growing into plants. There’s nothing more hopeful and more heartening than a greenhouse full of bright green shoots and unfurling leaves; spring is the brightest of the seasons so why not optimise your exposure to these good things in life by pulling on the working wellies?  

The farm welcomes all (within opening times) so there are plenty of opportunities to visit: wander the paths, sit with a brew from the café, browse for goods, or even offer to get your hands dirty. Owned by a cooperative and run by a team of volunteers for the local community, they will always welcome visitors. 

Everything grown here is sold in the shop, and everything sold in the shop is grown here, or at least locally, so don’t go bananas on your shopping list. Sustainability is the ethos here: stages of compost bins, recycled pots and a garden kitchen add to the landscape. Even the quick tour of the farm gives an enormous sense of grounding and positive purpose.

If you can drag yourself away, head right out of the farm and then hook a left into the estate. Take a long path right up a hill flanked with trees and garden fences. At the end of the hill, bear left, returning to the main Lords Hill thoroughfare where you can dip under subways back to the community centre. Or not. There are countless footpaths and routes around here and into Lordwood and beyond. Explore as unnecessary. 

In this holy week when Ramadan, Passover and Easter intersect, spend some time out with the spirit of Mother Nature. Life is about belief and a walk around a farm, one that is born and nurtured through local community, will instil you with the optimism of spring growth. 


Cost: Free exploring the farm and for the walk there. The shop will probably tempt you into purchases of some sort. 

Accessibility: Some pavements along the route but also some woodland ways along Tanner’s Brook. In current conditions, wellies are advised, and wheels will certainly get lost to the bog, but there are alternate routes through the suburbs. The farm is accessible to all with wide paths and open arms. Bluestar routes 17 and 19 travel along Aldermoor Road and Lords Hill Way respectively.

Facilities: Farm and shop facilities are an Aladdin’s Cave of treats. A new addition of café with drinks and cakes from Communibakes may extend your stay. Fruit, veg, dairy, crafts, all grown or made locally, not to mention the refill stations, and pre-loved shop and then there’s the obligatory eggs of several varieties. I plumped for duck eggs laid that very day. 

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