Support us -
join our mailing list:


Or become a friend:


Plan your school visit

"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher



Latest from blog

24 May 2022

    Bluebells at Rushall Farm I first met...


November 2018


November 2018

6 Nov 2018




Why did Jesus say ‘I am the good shepherd’?  At that time everyone knew that shepherds could not be trusted! They couldn’t testify in a court of law in Israel.  They were known for their thieving, that they lied, were poor and couldn’t be educated. It is like a farmer today putting “good” in front of the word “gypsy” or “traveller”.  Their reputation goes before them!

Here at Rushall Farm I looked after 800 ewes for 40 years, which meant having over 2200 animals around in the spring.  I did my best with them, but everyday it was something; a ewe dead on its back, sheep out on the road, including stopping traffic on the M4, a garden demolished by straying rams, inquisitive lambs swimming in a water trough, ewes stuck in fences or brambles, or a ewe struggling all night to give birth because I was too tired to get up.  A friend of mine Stephen Hart was named UK Flock master of the Year some years ago.  I always think that to get a true answer as to how good the shepherd is you would have to ask the sheep.

Every Tuesday a group of young people from Brookfields and Castle Schools spend the day at Rushall Farm.  For most it is the highlight of their week. One lad, Thomas, is over 6 feet, big and strong, autistic, and with no verbal communication.  It is not easy at times to get him to fully cooperate and like all of us he can be stubborn.  Today he would not get out of the minibus.  When I arrived, staff were really wanting to get on and have a coffee.  All other attempts having failed they asked me to have a go.  I stood by the side door and smiled sweetly, beckoning him out.  He responded by beckoning me in, which I eventually did.  He then showed me that I needed to put my seat belt on and sit with him. I carried out his instructions.  Then when he was ready he nodded at me, we both undid our seatbelts and got out of the bus together! When Jesus looked at the crowd “they were like sheep without a shepherd”.  The opportunity that this Christmas offers us is that we can invite the good shepherd to come into our situations, sit with us a while and then start journeying together.  You know there was a huge smile on Thomas’ face when he got out of the minibus and he had a really good day.

John Bishop