SUNDAY was Open Farm Sunday, when farms all over the country opened their gates to welcome the public to find out how they do things, where their food comes from and meet the animals, poultry, machinery and the farmers themselves.

The Martin family has been farming at Nunton Farm, Nunton, a few miles south of Salisbury since 1929, when John Martin established the business with 29 cattle.Today, Simon, John's grandson has built up the herd to 720 and has recently installed a rotary milking parlour, which can take up to 1,000 cows per milking. This was a great attraction on the day. The installation of the new parlour has made it financially viable to allow Simon's son John to remain working on the farm and to employ an apprentice, Ashley Chandler, to help dairyman Rob Bury.

Will Dickson, whose family has farmed nearby Wick Farm near Downton for 60 years, brought two North of England Mules to Nunton. This medium-sized cross-bred sheep is noted for its qualities of hardiness, thriftiness and longevity.Many visitors turned up to see cows being milked in the new parlour, younger visitors were fascinated by the farm machinery and the animals and enjoyed sitting on the straw bales eating ice cream.

Simon Martin said: “A lot of hard work goes into organising this day but I can honestly say it has been worth it. It is encouraging to see how much interest it generates and we hope that everyone has learned something.”

FOUR thousand people went along to River Bourne Community Farm in Laverstock.

Visitors enjoyed agricultural machinery displays, rural crafts, ferret racing and archery and the children loved the pony rides, tractor trailer rides, river dipping and a bouncy castle. And local chutney maker David Burton made a chutney especially for the occasion, which he called River Bourne Relish.

Dogs were out in force for the dog agility course.Farm office manager Jane Wilkinson said: “With a bar selling real ale and cider and some great live music, it was a very pleasant way to spend the day.”

“Thanks to everyone who came - a great day was had by all.”