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Courses and Events 2014

Old Sleningford offers a superb venue for courses and events. Its quiet, rural location with facilities both inside and out makes it ideal for any activity to take place.

We run a varied programme of courses and events throughout the year, see below for the 2014 dates. There may be other courses added to the programme throughout the year. please use the contact form if you would like to be added to our mailing list and we will keep you up to date with any new courses and dates that are arranged.

If you would like to use the facilities at Old Sleningford Farm to run a course then please contact us to discuss further.

We have a workday on the first Sunday of every month, see below for details of dates and times. We have a range of jobs for each workday which will suit all ages and abilities and we will advertise the likely jobs for each workday where we can. Please contact us  if you would like to know more.

Rachel has set up a facebook page to bring up to date news of what's going on at the farm, including course information and photos of the adtivities taking place at the farm. Use the link below to be my friend.

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Workday - Sunday 6th April 2014

We have been awarded a pack of trees from the Woodland Trust, which we'll be using to create a hedge along the inside edge of the forest garden. There'll be around 500 trees to plant, they'll only be small whips but that's still a lot to plant in a day! So come and help, any time from 10am until 4pm ish. Bring a spade if you can as we've only got a few. You'll be rewarded with a hot lunch and cake!

Please let us know if you are coming so we know how much soup and cake to make.

As part of the award, we need to record the day so if you would prefer not to have your photograph taken then please let us know.

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Workday - Sunday 4th May 2014

Come and help in our Forest Garden, Raised Beds, Polytunnel and anywhere else around the farm that needs something doing! Anytime after 10am, we work until 4pm approx. depending on the weather, how much work we've got done and how tired we are. Hot lunch for everyone who works.

Please let us know if you are coming so we know how much food to make.



Effortless Meditation - Saturday 10th May 2014


"Effortless Meditation is a householder practice which has been designed with busy Western lives in mind. It is a 20 minute daily practice which never needs to be more than 20 minutes. If you've always thought you have to empty your mind to meditate... don't worry!  In this practice thoughts are recognised as part of the meditation... in fact thoughts are good! Many people think meditation is about relaxing for 20 minutes, in fact we don't meditate for the benefits it brings in the 20 minutes, we meditate for the benefits it brings in the rest of life." So says Jo Royle, who will be running this one day workshop at Old Sleningford. See her website for lots more information about Effortless Meditation.

9.15am until 4.30pm. £80 per person. Lunch included.

Please contact Jo directly to book jo@effortlessjo.co.uk or 07715 923944

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Hedgerow Foods and Medicines - Saturday 17th May 2014

This course is designed to bring herbal medicine and food from the hedgerow alive by focusing on local plants that can be gathered from the wild or easily cultivated. The day will be very practical and you will learn how to identify a range of medicinal and edible plants and the techniques used to gather and prepare them. Experience the joy of making a number of traditional medicines and preparations using simple ingredients (including a tincture, ointment, poultice, decoction and infusion) and tasting them for lunch.

Ross Menzies from The Herbal Clinic is tutoring this course. He has been in practice for over 15 years and uses mainly native plants and trees to treat many acute and chronic health imbalances.

If you are interested in this course, you may also be interested in the Tree Medicine course on Saturday 27th September

10am to 4pm

For further information and a booking form please use the contact form.


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Pig Keeping - Saturday 24th May 2014

This one day course is an introduction to keeping a few pigs who will live happily outdoors. We will look at the different breeds of pigs, what equipment is needed and how to keep your pigs happy and healthy. The course is ideal for anyone who would like to keep pigs but needs a confidence boost, or to decide if keeping pigs is right for them.

10am to 4pm

£55 per person

Lunch and refreshments included

For more information and a booking form pleas use the contact form

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Workday - Sunday 1st June 2014

Not sure what the jobs for our June workday will be, come along and find out! Anytime from 10am until around 4pm. Lunch and cake provided.

Please let us know if you are coming so we know how much food to make


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Open Gardens - Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th June 2014

Come and have a look around the formal gardens of Old Sleningford Hall and our Forest Garden as part of the National Gardens Scheme. Small entrance fee applies for charity.

More details to follow



Forest Gardening - Saturday 28th June 2014

A Forest Garden is a highly productive planting scheme that requires minimal maintenance. Once established it can provide a huge amount of produce and can be planted on a small or large scale. This course will introduce you to the principles of forest gardening, some of the plants that could go in and some ideas and inspiration for your planting. We will spend time in the Forest Garden at Old Sleningford, some of it is 9 years old and some still to be planted.

10am to 4.30pm

£45 per person

Lunch and refreshments provided

For more information and a booking form please use the contact form

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Workday - Sunday 6th July 2014

The Forest Garden should be in full soft fruit production for our July workday so get your picking hands on for strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. There's usually enough for helpers to take some home too. Join us any time from 10am until 4pm, lunch provided for all those who work.

Please let us know if you are coming so we know how much lunch to make


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Plant Spirit Medicine - Saturday 12th July 2014

Plants have always been revered for their healing properties. In many cultures (and historically in our own) healers have had very close relationships with their healing plants and have often described having a communication with them as part of a healing process. This course will help develop the skills needed to sense the more subtle qualities of plants and to work with them using their subtle energies to promote healing – physical, emotional and spiritual. We believe and have found that working with plants as living, evolved and complex beings, coming to them from a place of deep respect and reverence, allows a deeper healing to occur.

This day offers the opportunity to explore how we access sacred experience and how plants can be powerful allies on our path. During the day we will find our own plant ally to work with us at this unique stage of our life’s journey and will prepare an essence from our plant to take home.

10am to 4pm.

£50 per person including lunch

This course will be tutored by Ross Menzies and Katrina Padmore, more information about the tutors and their other courses can be found at The Herbal Clinic.

 Please contact us for more information and a booking form


Preserving the Harvest - Saturday 19th July 2014

Hopefully your garden will be in full production, giving lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Sometimes though, there's too much and no-one wants to see any go to waste. Traditionally, jams and chutneys were made to preserve the harvest but we will expand on that and experiment with different sugars and vinegars to see how they affect taste, try different recipes for the same ingredient which will include jelly, cordial, relish and other interesting and unusual concoctions. The day will start with a walk to our forest garden and/or raised beds to collect some ingredients and will be hands on practical with lots of information to ensure successful preserving.

10am to 4pm

£60 per person including all preserves made on the day

Lunch and refreshments provided

For more information and a booking form please use the contact form

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Workday - Sunday 3rd August 2014

Still more picking to be done in the Forest Garden, this time blackcurrants and redcurrants. Bring your sun hat and sun cream! Lunch for all workers. Arrive any time after 10am, we work until 4pm ish.

Please let us know if you are coming so we know how much lunch to make



Forest Garden Open Days - Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th August 2014

We get hundreds of requests from people who would like to come and have a look around our Forest Garden and have a chat about what we've done and how we've done it. Unfortunately we just don't have to time to do this and usually suggest people join us on a workday where they will be able to chat and see the Forest garden whilst helping us out. This year however, Rachel is organising a weekend where she will be on hand to do guided tours and answer any questions people may have. Full details to be confirmed but there will be a tour on both Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoon, refreshments and possibly a chance to pick some of the produce (depending on size of harvest!). Suggested donation of £5 per person would be appreciated and you'll be welcome to bring a picnic to have by the pond.

More information to follow and will be detailed in the spring email news from Old Sleningford. Please use the contact form if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

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Workday - Sunday 7th September 2014

Another day to come and help at the farm, not sure of the jobs but this time last year we pulled all the onions, re-labelled apple trees, picked caterpillars off brassicas, weeded and picked apples. Anything could happen! Come anytime from 10am until 4pm, we provide lunch if you do some work.

Please let us know if you are coming so we know how much food to make


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Tree Medicine - Saturday 27th September 2014

A day devoted to getting to know some of our wonderful healing trees. Learn how to identify them, discover some folklore around each tree and explote their many healing properties. prepare and elderberry winter cold and flu tonic, and acorn antiseptic / antifungal rinse that can be used to stop bleeding and a medicine from willow that can act as a natural painkiller. This course will have a strong practical element - preparing remedies and getting out and about getting to know the trees.

The course is tutored by Ross Menzies , a Medical Herbalist based near Hexham. He has been in practice for over 15 years and uses mainly native plants and trees to treat many acute and chronic health imbalances. He is an experienced tutor and has a strng interest in wild foods as well as a deep belief that Nature can be a source of spiritual nourishment and inspiration.

If you are interested in this course, you may also be interested in the Hedgerow Foods and Medicines course on Saturday 17th May

10am to 4pm

For more information and a booking form, please use the contact form .


Birdwatching - Saturday 11th October 2014

How would you like to be able to identify the birds you see in your garden or at your local nature reserve? New to birdwatching or would you like to resume your hobby now that you have more time on your hands? By going out with a guide you will be able to gain or regain your confidence quickly and pick up where you left off.

There are many ways to appreciate birds, from the casual observer to the enthusiastic “twitcher”, you decide. The main thing is that you enjoy yourself and have fun. There is always something new to learn or something different to see, no matter how many years you have been watching birds.

Linda Jenkinson is running this one day class at Old Sleningford, see her website  for more information

Time and cost TBC

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Apple Juicing 2014

Dates to be confirmed when we know how large the apple harvest will be, but there will be various dates throughout September, October and November.



Art Courses at Old Slen Art

Juliet Ramsden has, for a number of years, organised a varied programme of art courses at the Stables Gallery at Old Sleningford Hall. See their website www.oldslen.co.uk for more details.