Get down, Shep! - Discover your inner sheepdog at Folly Farm

By adventure sports and travel journalist, Alf Alderson…

Team building. That would involve off-roading and general mayhem, wouldn’t it? Well not if you choose to enjoy your team building exercise at Folly Farm Centre in the Chew Valley.

Take the Shepherding for example. How could rounding up sheep be of any help in the cut and thrust of the business world? Especially when it turns out that it’s you and your team members who will be the sheepdogs, rounding up a flock of real sheep! 

It might sound a bit off the wall at first, but as Folly Farm’s director Philip Niemand explains, “This exercise focuses hugely on trust and communication since team members have to communicate, direct and encourage their colleagues. After all, the sheep don’t care whether you’re head of department or the newest young trainee.”

Less eclectic team building options include the Mission Impossible Adventure, in which teams race against the clock to find hidden locations and complete set tasks where speed, ingenuity and daring are the attributes required of the winning team; or, if you’d rather work with Mother Nature than compete against her, a bushcraft course is a fantastic way to develop not just your outdoor skills but your self-esteem. 

Delegates who stay overnight will find a range of comfortable accommodation options and Folly Farm is the perfect place to wind down. Set in the middle of a 250-acre wildlife reserve managed by Avon Wildlife Trust, peace and tranquility come as part of the package, whilst the Trust also benefits since it receives all the centre’s profits to help support the management of the reserve and other wildlife initiatives across the Bristol area. 

Sustainability is a key feature of Folly Farm in many other ways. As a leading green venue, the centre can offer a wide range of sustainability speakers, trainers and facilitators from the worlds of CSR, sustainable development, ecology and environmental education, all backed up by ecological tours of the nature reserve and top-class organic catering when you visit. 

And sustainability is also a core feature in the design of the state-of-the-art conference centre. Sit back and absorb this impressive list:

+ biomass (wood pellet) central heating
+ solar hot water
+ rain water harvesting
+ reed-bed waste water and sewage treatment
+ recycling and the use of recycled materials
+ green tariff electricity
+ local and organic food and drink
+ use of natural light and ventilation in the building design

All that’s missing is a home for unemployed sheepdogs…

Test your team's collaborative skills by chasing sheep around a field. Teambuilding at Folly Farm is more fun, and more revealing, than you think!

Test your team's collaborative skills by chasing sheep around a field. Teambuilding at Folly Farm is more fun, and more revealing, than you think!

Garrick Webster