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Successful Open Day

by Rod Kebble

A first-time shooter at the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm open day.

First-time clay pigeon shooter Karen Maynard in the cage with instructor Jack Scott. Karen scored a very respectable 5 hits out of 10 shots.

Pierrepont Farm’s 2012 Open Day is reckoned to have been the most successful so far, with around 250 visitors attending, including one lady who walked from Farnham in order to join one of farmer Mike Clear’s guided walks and a couple who had come all the way home Holland (though it turned out they had been on holiday in the area anyway).

A Canadian Great Horned Owl on the arm of Paul Larkham of Puddlewood Hawk and Falconry at the open day of the Coiuntryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm.

Paul Larkham of Puddlewood Hawk and Falconry with a Canadian Great Horned Owl. The ‘horns’ are in fact feathers.

A male Harris Hawk from Puddlewood Hawk and Faclonry at the Pierrepont Farm open day.

A male Harris Hawk, one of two — plus one larger female — from Puddlewood Hawk and Falconry at the Pierrepont Farm open day. Visitors could also see a Red Tailed Kite and a Gerfalcon hybrid.

Though not a wholly sunny day, the breeze never became too strong, the rain held off and the car park did not become a sea of mud (as had been feared at the beginning of the week).

Stalls at the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm open day.

Visitors browse some of the stalls, while others took self-guided walks, shot clay pigeons or watched the calves and cows.

In the days before the event, the education room in the new dairy was given the long-awaited treatment necessary to cut out the noise from some of the machinery (ie. higher walls and an acoustic box around the offending kit), so that the monitoring group of volunteers were able to converse with visitors at less-than-a-shout when explaining what had been found in their pond-dipping nets.

Joining the volunteers for this was Patrick Clear, 13, son of tenant farmers Mike and Bev and, it turned out, the author of a monograph on the pond’s first year, which impressed all who saw it and which we hope to feature on this website in the near future.

Visitors listen as farmer Mike Clear begins a guided tour of the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm.

Farmer Mike Clear begins one of his guided tours of the farm. Visitors were also able to visit the milking parlour and watch the robotic milking machines in action.

Meanwhile Patrick’s sister, Zoë, and her friend Jenny Cooper were busy most of the day, demonstrating how to prepare a calf for the show ring — practice which we hope will have stood them in good stead for their appearances at the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show at Stoneleigh this weekend.

Visitors at the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm open day take a look at the calves.

Visitors to the calf pens were also able to see a male calf that had been born early that morning.

Plans are already in hand for improvements for next year’s Open Day — once Mike Clear has decided upon a date…

Farmer's wife Bev Clear prepares to show one of the cows to visitors to Pierrepont Farm's open day.

Bev Clear prepares to introduce one of the Jerseys to the open day visitors.