Cheshire Farms

1908 - 2008 Celebrating 100 years of Council Farms in Cheshire

Introduction to Cheshire Farms Service

Julie and Robert Andrews

The newly formed Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council (CWACBC) and Cheshire East Borough Council (CEBC) both offer farming opportunities under the banner of Cheshire Farms Service, presenting a range of farming opportunities across the County.                                 

From the formation of the Service in 1909 following the introduction of legislation to encourage the creation of opportunities for people to farm on their own account, land was acquired progressively between 1909 and 1935 by the former County Council.

This was then developed as Statutory Smallholdings by the provision of purpose built houses and buildings, or the conversion of existing properties. Subsequently, substantial adaptation works have been carried out by the former Council and its tenants to provide modern facilities for the production of milk to meet the changing needs of the farming industry.

Farms are located throughout Cheshire and extend to approximately 9670 acres (4570 acres in CWACBC & 5100 acres in CEBC), currently including 118 let farms ranging from market gardens to fully equipped dairy farms approaching 200 acres.

The Service links in to a national network of Council Farms across England and Wales extending in total to approximately 285,788 acres, enabling not only 3,383 farming tenants to gain their livelihood but connecting those authorities with a rural communities providing a range of opportunities e.g. the identification of affordable housing sites, improving public access, the generation of renewable energy.

Within Cheshire, priority has been given to restructuring the Estates to continue to meet the changing demands of this industry, introducing a structure and types of farm that help aspiring tenants to establish themselves, gain experience and generate the potential to move on to achieve their ambitions.

The latest reorganisation projects include building an entirely new farmstead to replace outdated facilities premises and more about that project can seen on the new projects page.

Knowing where to go for help and advice when setting out in farming has always been difficult and confusing, and to address just that issue, an industry led initiative developed in conjunction with DEFRA and aptly named Fresh Start has been launched and can be accessed via the Fresh Start website.