May 2017

Swindon Festival of Literature

Mon 1 – Sat 13 May

Lower Shaw Farm is the home, head, and heart of this locally-loved and nationally-known high spot on Wiltshire’s cultural calendar. It begins with the amazing Dawn Chorus at 5.30am on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May, and continues for a fortnight with an array of novelists, poets, politicians, scientists, philosophers, performers, dangerous discussions, serious sessions, and lively talks.

A veritable feast of ideas!

If you want to know who and what, get the full 36-page colour programme, available from 16 March. Phone 01793 771080, email or see the Festival website.

Litfest Children and Families Day

Sun 7 May
10.30am – 3.30pm
Adult £5 • Child £3

Authors, writing workshops, storytelling, word games, story walks, treasure hunts, riddles, puppets, campfire stories, and plenty of play, all day, at the Swindon Festival of Literature.

Brilliant activities for all ages with words, books, authors, and performers.

The Farm Cafe will be open for light lunches, and delicious cakes and refreshments.

No booking required. For this event, please pay at the farm on the day. If you have an enquiry, please phone us on 01793 771080 or email

Willow Basket Making

Fri 19 – Sun 21 May
Begins 12 noon on the Friday, finishes 4pm on Sunday.
Residential £174, Non-resident price £150, includes lunches and tea break refreshments.
Norah Kennedy

Make willow baskets, garden structures, plant supports, sculptures, and decorations. Learn an eco-friendly skill using local renewable materials! There will be time to make at least two small baskets, or one larger one. Advice will be available for those wanting to grow their own willow. The course begins with lunch on Friday at 12.30pm. There will be tuition from 9.30am until 4pm on both the Saturday and Sunday. This weekend is suitable for both beginners and for those with experience.

There will be an extra charge of £5 – £20 for materials. Norah is an experienced, practising basket maker, and has been teaching this age-old craft here, and all over the country, for many years.

It may be possible to book for Saturday or Sunday only. Please ask.

Book Willow Basket Making

May Working Weekend

Fri 19 – Sun 21 May
No charge

This is a chance to get to know the farm, turn your hand to old jobs and new, enjoy good company and good food too!

An opportunity to have bright ideas by the compost heap, happy talk in the hen house, and cool chat in the kitchen. Join us to prove that many hands make light work and that today’s stranger is tomorrow’s friend.

Our Working Weekends are run in the beautiful spirit of the WWOOF organisation: we feed and accommodate you, you work, with us.

For more information on WWOOF, see

Book May Working Weekend

Juggling and Circus Skills

Fri 26 – Mon 29 May
Adult £165 • Child (5 – 21yrs) £132
Jim Semlyen, Jacob Hirsch-Holland, and friends

A long Bank Holiday weekend of developing circus skills and having fun!

It will include sessions in basic juggling, club passing, staff spinning, acrobalance, human pyramids, diabolo, devil stick, ring and plate spinning, aerial, slackline, rope, and performance skills!

There will also be a fire show, with participants joining in a mass club-swinging routine, followed by a the lighting of a fire sculpture created by on the weekend.

On the final night, we’ll have a cabaret, UV-light performance in fluorescent room, and a Cowshed party to write home about!

And on the last day, we’ll play! Games galore, and more.

This is a weekend suitable for everyone who likes physical activity and developing their circus skills: families, friends, couples, and singles, people of all ages!

Weekend organisers are Jim Semlyen, experienced juggler and workshop leader, and Jacob Hirsch-Holland, a circus skills performer and accomplished slackliner. They both bring a wealth of experience, ideas, and fun to the weekend, which begins on Friday evening and finishes after a late lunch on Bank Holiday Monday.

Book Juggling and Circus Skills
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