Course admin

Course administration and places to stay

Times: Full day and morning courses start at 10am and finish at about 4.30 pm. You can arrive any time from 9.45am. 

How to find us:  Our postcode BA80HR will bring you to the farm drive on Throop Rd.  Come up the drive and follow the signs to the left fork,  through a gate into a large grassy area.  Park on the gravel area, avoid the grass which can be boggy in wet weather. Follow the yellow signs to the school room and butchery. Coffee and biscuits will be waiting for you.

Arriving by train: Empire Farm is just 7 minutes walk from Templecombe station, which is on the Waterloo-Exeter line. The service takes just over two hours from Waterloo. If you are coming down by train the night before and staying locally, then it is probably wise to book a taxi to meet your train, as there is no regular taxi stand at the station (list of taxis below). Also, ask if they can pick you up in the morning to get you to the course. There is a bus that serves the station, running between Wincanton and Sherborne.

Click here for station information.

What to bring Please bring appropriate clothing for the course you are taking.  Butchery courses: We provide aprons and gloves. Warm clothes are recommended.  The butchery is unheated and, even in summer, it can be quite chilly, so bring warm layers. Please wear sturdy shoes with good grip for butchery courses whatever the weather. Sandals are not recommended for any of our courses. Smallholding and gardening courses: these will be outside for much of the day so please come suitably equipped –  unless it has been wet you won’t need wellies. Sturdy outdoor walking shoes will be fine, there may be some long grass but no mud. These courses are based in our conservatory so you need a change of footwear as we don’t want outdoor shoes in the house. Don’t forget a water bottle, suncream, waterproofs etc.

Dietary requirements: Please let us know in advance if you have any special dietary requirements or allergies.

Accessibility: please note that the butchery and school room is located on the first floor and there is a steep flight of stairs.

Staying locally There are a number of places to stay within a few miles of Empire Farm if you need to stay the night before a course or your course is part of a weekend away. Our guests have stayed in these establishments which are nearest to the farm.

Toomer Farm in Henstridge – many positive reviews

Half Moon Pub in Horsington, closest to the farm, more basic rooms, good beer

The Ship Inn in West Stour – lots of positive feedback and super restaurant using local produce

The Kings Arms in Charlton Horethorne

The Stapleton Arms in Buckhorn Weston, one of our favourite local pubs with great food

A bit further away

The Queens Arms, Corton Denham nr Sherborne

Guests have also reported favourably on the  Castleton House in Mere (just off the A303), Bakehouse B&B in Sherborne, The Grange at Oborne, The Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne and Hunters Inn nr Wincanton.

The nearest Travel Lodge is by the A303 at Wincanton, which was built a few years ago.

Travel by train and stay with a tutor

Alternatively, you could arrange to stay with one of our tutors, David Coldman who offers B&B to anybody on our courses. He lives 5 mins from Yeovil Junction station and about 10 mins from Yeovil Pen Mill station,  and can pick you up and take you back to the station and if you are on one of his courses, he can drive you here!


Coombe Cabs, Templecombe, Somerset BA8 0LG Tel: 01963 370156  – nearest

Wincanton Taxis, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 9EU Tel: 01963 824269

Groves Cars, Milborne Port, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5EW Tel: 07857 791846

Bill’s Taxis, Milborne Port, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5BW Tel: 01963 251822

Sable 200, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 9JF Tel: 01963 34266

MB Private Hire, Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton, Dorset DT10 2NS Tel: 07813 841466

Blakes Taxis, Stalbridge,Sturminster Newton, Dorset DT10 2RT Tel: 01963 362303

Handy Cabs of Stalbridge, Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton, Dorset DT10 2NY Tel: 01963 363714

Things to do in the area

Many people ask us if there is anything for their partner to do while they are attending the course. The answer is a resounding “YES”! In fact, people who come down for a week’s holiday complain that there is not enough time to see everything. There are many National Trust houses and gardens, museums, visitor centres as well shopping at the Clark’s village near Street, the towns of Glastonbury, Sherborne, Wells, Shaftesbury, or a little further afield perhaps Bath, Salisbury or Bournemouth. Alternatively, they could simply relax and unwind on a Spa Day at Holbrook House near Wincanton, or the Spa at Longleat Center Parc.

The Soil Association Organic Standard

Office: 01963 371681  Butchery courses 07837 174106