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A Visit to Gyrwe

On a glorious afternoon in May we had an opportunity to step back in time and experience life in the Anglo Saxon village of Gyrwe –Jarrow for those of you not fluent in Old English.

Billy and Betty organised this fascinating visit which provided an opportunity to see two of their Dexters settling in to life on the farm in preparation to take over from the established oxen, Edwin and Oswin. In traditional style the cattle are trained to work as a pair in harness and we were lucky to watch a display of their intricate manoeuvres around the paddock.

In addition to the Dexters there are rare breeds of sheep including Hebridean, Ronaldsay, Manx and Soay varieties, and pigs, cross bred from Tamworth, Berkshires and wild boar.

Away from the animals we walked through the farm to the vegetable plots. Among the vegetables, peas leaks and onions are grown. There were black beans known as Celtic Bean and wild cabbage. Fruit grown at the farm includes gooseberry, currents, raspberries and strawberries. Looking at the quality of produce growing in the shelter of the hawthorned walled garden it would certainly make a good showing at our annual show.

Given that the site of the farm is only metres away from the busy commerce of the River Tyne it is difficult to adjust to the sight of simple buildings  sometimes no more than a timber roof over a pit excavated into the ground, such a short distance from the  cranes and ferries at the Honda dockyard.

In completing the trail around the farm we were able to get refreshment from the café and begin to adjust to the 21st century.