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Urban farming: how the hippy throwback is on the rise

In 1976, the farm was more an industrial wasteland - but that didn't put people off turning it into something more Photo: ITV News

They came with hippy ideals, spades and plans for a good life existence. Wind the clock forward several decades and the Windmill Hill City Farm in South Bristol is thriving.

It's the oldest city farm outside London and after rising from the rubble left by WW2 and council bulldozers, it's now celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Reclaiming industrial space was all part of the hippy culture Credit: ITV News

It was back in 1976, when volunteers inherited a rat infested wasteland but brick by brick they cleared it and began creating ponds and allotments.

Their wind powered fountain caused a stir on the HTV news, but it fell victim to passing time.

Reporting from the controversial windmill in the 70s Credit: ITV News
Belinda Sully showing our reporter, David Woodland, how to pick blueberries Credit: ITV News

Belinda Sully remembers 20 years ago when she helped organise the place. She recounts how the allotments have come full circle:

250 years ago it was open farmland, then it went through a period of heavy industrialisation. The Second World War put paid to that, bombing destroyed most of it. Until the 1970s when it was put back into production. It's now a much loved thriving green garden in the heart of the city.

It's a hub of activity, it's fantastic for families and children. It's almost like a hippy dippy throwback which is very Bristol anyway.

– Belinda Sully
Now in 2016, the allotments are thriving Credit: ITV News

The idea of the urban farm has taken root. The pioneers of the 70s have been followed by others, with 60 farms spread around the country and Bristol having more than any other city.