Skip to navigation | Skip to content | Skip to footer

Smallholder Day

Join us down on the farm for a day and learn how to start your own smallholding - River Cottage style.

Fancy living the good life? Designed with rookie smallholders in mind, our one-day course is a brilliant introduction to the skills, equipment and knowledge required to raise classic livestock. Having farmed his whole life, our farmer Jim will be taking you through an interesting day of all things livestock.

Learn the basics in animal husbandry, put the theories into practice and get hands-on with the livestock here at River Cottage HQ. As well as the chance to explore our idyllic surroundings in the heart of the Devon countryside, you’ll be served a local, seasonal lunch and plenty of that famous River Cottage hospitality. Bring your enthusiasm and get stuck in!

Your day

10:00 - 17:00

  • Make yourself at home

    Meet your tutor and settle in with tea, coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.

  • The basics

    Firstly, we’ll start the day with an overview of setting up a smallholding, including the tools and equipment needed for farming. There’ll be demonstrations and the opportunity to have a look at some items more closely.

  • Animals

    Your day will focus on three types of livestock; pigs, sheep and chickens. You’ll discuss different breed types and their suitability, to ensure you’re picking the right animals for you.

  • Housing

    You’ll head up 'Pig Lane' and see our chickens, pigs and sheep. Jim will advise you on picking suitable locations for your livestock and show you the housing needs for each animal, to meet the high welfare standards needed for happy livestock.

  • Lunch

    Food is always the focus at River Cottage - you’ll tuck into a delicious lunch prepared by our chefs using produce from the farm.

  • Feed & health

    Your attention will then turn to making informed choices with organic feed, to keep your animals healthy and well nourished. You’ll also learn how to handle and transport your animals with minimal stress.

  • Legalities

    Jim will discuss the process of taking an animal to slaughter and cover the legalities around keeping your own animals .

  • Departure

    You'll have the opportunity to ask Jim any burning questions and chat with your fellow smallholders before heading home, excited to start your own smallholding!

Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.

On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.

Interested in this event?

Click the ‘notify me’ button below to receive an email when new dates for this event are released. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Notify me

Further information...

This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.

We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.

Stay in our famous Farmhouse, click here. For other local accommodation click here.

This event is for guests over the age of 13 only. Under 16s must be accompanied by a paying adult. Due to the nature of the working farm having very uneven ground, this course may not be suitable for people with additional mobility needs. Please contact us before booking if you’re unsure if this course is suitable for you We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.

With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food and Travel Magazine 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2018