A community farm in Laverstock has secured the acquistion of over 50 acres of water meadows, thanks to a local donor.

Formerly owned by local landowner Peter Bialek and leased to the River Bourne Community Farm, the land at Cow Lane in Laverstock was purchased for the newly formed Devenish Bradshaw Charitable Trust by Mr Peter Bradshaw, whose gesture prevents any future adverse development of the land and secures it as an important green belt area between the parishes of Laverstock and Salisbury.

Jane Wilkinson, Chair of the Devenish Bradshaw Charitable Trust, is delighted with the acquisition: “On behalf of the Trust I would like to offer our thanks to Mr Peter Bradshaw and Mr Peter Bialek for their generosity and patience in completing the transfer of ownership to the Trust which took many months.

The Trust is so pleased to acquire this beautiful area of land which will now be used in perpetuity for agri-environmental, educational and social use under the management of the Community Farm”.

The 53 acres of water meadow which border the river Bourne have been managed by River Bourne Community Farm since the farm took possession of 5 acres of adjacent derelict land in January 2010 and transformed it into the community meeting place and education centre that it is today.

The farm business tenancy formally held between the farm and Mr Peter Bialek will now continue with the Devenish Bradshaw Charitable Trust as the farm’s new landlord.

Ben Parker, Chair of the farm, is delighted with the developments: “When the farm first took over the tenancy of the water meadows in 2010, we were keen to open up the land to the community and so installed kissing gates and permissive paths around the river front and water meadows.

Over the last eight years Mr Bialek has given tremendous support to the farm culminating in the sale of the water meadows to the new Trust.

This he felt was the best way to give support to the local community. "'

River Bourne Community Farm has had an important role to play in the upkeep of the water meadows and their acquisition by the newly formed Trust, something recognised by Mr Peter Bradshaw who is very pleased that the funding he has provided will both secure the water meadows for managed community use and allow the farm to continue its educational, environmental and agricultural activities: "I'm very impressed with the River Bourne Community Farm and the vision behind it.

We are delighted that we have had the opportunity to help the permanent expansion of the farm and ensure its sustainability.

We certainly congratulate all those involved who have had the foresight to have put so much into this excellent initiative".

Under the guidance of the Devenish Bradshaw Charitable Trust the farm will continue to provide and improve access as well as organising events during the summer months for the community to enjoy. The farm will also continue to conserve the pasture land with managed grazing of livestock and with the taking of an annual harvest.

Ben Parkeradded: “This really is very exciting news for the whole community. We are looking forward to working with the Trust to conserve the meadows for all to enjoy”.