West Glos & Dean Forest
Motor Cycle Club

Celebrating 71 Years of Motor Cycling 1953 - 2024

A day out at Tom's Farm

Words and Photos By Jack Pegler

In between Xmas and New Year, five bikes and a quad started on the journey to Tom's Farm. The temperature in Ross-on-Wye that morning was –2C. The trip was halted at Cross Gates café where all had a hearty breakfast. It was obvious at the café that we weren't the only ones going to Tom's Farm, as there were at least ten vans with trailers.

We carried on to Tom's Farm, which is approximately ten miles north of Rhyader. Not only were we leaving Rhyader, but we were also climbing in altitude. We arrived at Tom's Farm to find the temperature at least –6C. Tom's Farm, for those of you who have never been, is 600 acres of hills, brooks, bogs, mud, motorbikes, 4 x 4s and sheep ("nothing like as attractive as the Forest sheep" said Glen). In the middle of Tom's Farm is a house with relatively no roof, where Tom and his wife live. I believe they rent the farm and charge £7.50 for motorcycles, £10 for quads and £15 for 4 x 4s. There is accommodation there, if you appreciate a caravan with no roof, but I do believe that people camp there during the Summer months.

Our day started at 10 o'clock, where all ditches and ruts were frozen solid. Jimmy Marshall was the first to fall off and although using hand grips, he had very little protection, as they were so brittle that they shattered on impact, along with both break and clutch levers. Jimmy cursed under his frozen breath that it was a very expensive mistake (see photograph right).

We visited one of the highest points of Tom's Farm, remembering that all banks were frozen and heavy with frost. On the descent, Jack made the mistake of going down over one of the steepest parts, followed by the group. It was great entertainment for Jack, who arrived safely and turned and watched the carnage. As Simon arrived, he also enjoyed the entertainment, with Jimmy, Richard and Dave close behind. It was only left for Glen to descend, encouraged by a rowdy group at the bottom. This was a descent where gearing, brakes, heels and swearing made very little difference. After a good 5 minutes everyone's ribs ached not from coming off, but from laughter.

As the temperature rose slightly, the terrain became slightly easier, so we headed towards the far end of Tom's Farm, where Dave coached and encouraged by Jack and the rest of the group, attempted to jump a ditch. (We may have a video clip in future. ed.)

I was very impressed with the freedom and the power of Richard's quad. In fact, if it hadn't been for the quad towing Jimmy out, his bike would still be there now (see photograph above).

We finished off the day by looking up at the hill climb, where three people have been air-lifted to hospital. This hill climb is not for the faint-hearted and with the conditions as they were none of the group attempted this.

We came back to the vans at 3.30pm, having had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

The good thing about Tom's Farm is that you pay £7.50 to ramp around all day and bother no-one, however, you do need to be aware that it is 10 miles from civilisation and there is no first aid or health and safety of any description. The coverage for mobile phones is Orange only. You need to take these points into consideration when visiting Tom's Farm.