Waterhay Farm is 150 acres of grassland, including ancient ridge and furrow fields and species-rich hay meadows bordering the Thames. As well as 130 cattle, it is home to over 100 species of birds, plus otters, badgers, roe deer, dung beetles and more. Of particular note are the Snakeshead Fritillaries and the diversity of grassland fungi. Whilst not organic certified we farm using organic and regenerative principles and have recently won two awards for this approach.
In the welcome folder you will find a range of walks around the farm, including the five minute walk to the adjacent Leigh Old Chancel, a 700 year old relic of a church.
Places to visit
Leigh Old Chancel - This 13th Century remnant of a church is surrounded by a wild graveyard (which is home to Barn Owls). It is a short walk (200 metres) from The Swallow, crossing over two curious stiles. Chances are you will have it all to yourself. If you find that the Chancel is locked, ring Andy for the key.
If you want a Cotswold village to enjoy, Ashton Keynes is right on your doorstep, look out for the beheaded village crosses and stone slab walls, which are pretty unique to the area. Head for the Highroad, Godsditch, Church Walk and Backstreet.
Cirencester is well worth a visit and only a 15 minute drive away. It has regular markets in the market place, a range of independent shops and lots of choice for food and drink. It also has historic streets, a massive church, the Corinium Museum, New Brewery Arts for all things art and craft, and don't forget to walk up Cicely Hill into Cirencester Park. It is where we gravitate to for most things.
Cinema - Cineworld Swindon Shaw Ridge or Empire Swindon Green Bridge
Cricklade Leisure Centre or Cirencester Leisure Centre Outdoor & Active
Extensive nature reserves can be found locally, these include;
Cleveland lakes - Cotswold Lakes Trust, ex gravel pits, now a mixture of reedbeds, lakes, scrapes and trails. Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Great White Egret, and the full range of warblers are the specialties. Best to access by walking from The Swallow.
Twitchers Gate - Ashton Keynes, five minutes away, a viewing point with parking for two cars, great if you have a telescope.
Blakehill - Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, five minutes away, a massive hay meadow recreation project, skylark central, and turns up lots of unusual visitors.
North Meadow - 10 minutes away. The number one spot in the UK for Snakehead Fritillaries in April, and great hay meadow flora in May and June. Can be busy.
Clattenger Farm - Somerford Keynes, 10 minutes away, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust - some of the finest lowland hay meadows in the country. Best time to visit is mid April to July, great for orchids, butterflies and dragonflies, tends to be quiet. Small car park.
Ravensroost Woods - Minety, 15 minutes away, great for woodland butterflies; Silverwashed Fritillaries, White Admirals, Purple Hairstreak. At its best July onwards, but great at any time of year and invariably quiet. Small car park.