City Farm Review: Brooks Farm

This blog post is part of a series about London’s City Farms


Brooks Farm is owned and managed by the local council, and was one that I had a bit of difficulty finding. Not only is its online presence limited to a single page on the council website (with a 2009 events guide), but Google Maps couldn’t show me how to get into it.

Officially in Skeltons Lane Park, there seemed to be no way to get from Skeltons Lane itself into the park, so I came in via Byron Road. I later found a smaller side entrance from Skeltons Lane.

The farm itself is at the end of the recently revamped park, which now boasts a substantial adventure playground for kids – and is well advertised with pink pig signs dotted around the park, which at least reassured me that it exists!

Entrance

The park is essentially a circular design, with a central “roundabout” with pens for a cow and some larger animals, and then a mixture of hen coops and enclosures running around the exterior.

A small shed sells some basic drinks and snacks, and naturally, hand washing sinks by the entrance.

A small nature reserve looks a bit off limits frankly, and along the back of the farm are some good farm sheds with housing for goats. Alas, on my visit the shed was also infested with flies on a warm afternoon, to a degree that even I wont put up with, so I didn’t go inside.

Main area of the famr

In fact, quite of bit of the farm looked like it could do with a bit of a hose down to remove long lingering dirt on the pet cages that shouldn’t be allowed to build up. That purely cosmetic niggle aside, one very nice aspect of the farm is that most of the animals are well within hands reach and can be stroked and petted and also looked quite well cared for.

A lopsided model of a cow looks very out of place – an unwanted surplus from an advertising campaign?

(update – informed that it’s for demonstrating how to milk a cow – how random!)

The larger birds are essentially free range, happily wandering around the place outside their allocated pens – and the turkeys were getting into the spring spirit on my visit, fluffing up their feathers to impress the girls.

Geronimo!

An aviary to one side contains smaller birds such as finches and budgerigars. You can also buy a bag of approved food to feed some of the animals.

Overall Impression

This farm is deep within a residential area, but if you live in Leyton, it is worth the detour to visit.

Entry is free of charge, and although it is quite small, it does offer a more hands-on experience than some farms I visited.

Although the free range antics of the larger birds means smaller kids need to be kept under control, how to get close to animals, and treat them with respect is one of the more important lessons that the city farms are teaching and it was nice to see the animals not kept in securely protected areas.

The paths are all concrete, which makes it easier for access, if losing a bit of the countryside effect in the process.

Generally, a nice small city farm.

Opening Hours

Closed on Mondays and closed for lunch 12.30-1.30pm everyday

  • November-March
    • Tuesday to Sunday (and Bank Holiday Mondays) 9.30am-4.30pm
  • April-October
    • Tuesday to Sunday (and Bank Holiday Mondays) 10.30am-5.30pm

Other distractions

The children’s adventure playground right next to the park would please most kids, although there doesn’t seem to be anything else in the area worth seeking out.

Links

Farm website

More of my photos


A Belmont Children’s Farm
B Brooks Farm
C Kentish Town City Farm
D Freightliners City Farm
E Hackney City Farm
F Spitalfields City Farm
G Stepney City Farm
H Newham City Farm
I Surrey Docks Farm
J Mudchute Park and Farm
K Vauxhall City Farm
L Maryon Petting Zoo
M Hounslow Urban Farm
N Woodlands Farm Trust
O Crystal Palace Park Farm
P Deen City Farm and Riding School

 

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3 Comments

  1. gillian lawrence

    wow You made it to Leyton. I had arranged to go there with a severely disabled guy. Could not find the way in at all. Gave up. Will try again after your review. I know of no locals who know where it is and what it is. Obviously as Games 2012 approach the place will get a lick-over. Does a “city farm” have to be reminiscent of the country-side? it is a unique set-up with a do-gooder attitude towards townies. Or is it?

  2. I live in Waltham Forest and never had problems finding Brooks Farm. I simply went down Skelton’s Lane – as that’s the address – and saw the piggy signs. I’ve been going to this farm for about 5 years and doubt it will get tarted up for the Olympics as it has no connection, except being in east London. What it does offer is free access to farm animals in a built up area and that’s a good thing. If you remember to take an empty egg box you can buy eggs from this farm too. The children’s adventure playground in the Park is also great fun for families.

  3. Julian

    As you’ve visited so many farms, perhaps you should consider doing a top ten and rank them accordingly. That aside, I live in Leyton and I agree that the farm might be a bit out of the way and difficult to find. But that’s part of its charm. It’s totally surrounded by terraced houses and railway arches and so seems like a real urban oasis. It is a truly magical place for children.

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