DORSET’s resident bishop headed to the countryside to meet the county’s farmers in a national celebration of the industry.

National Open Farm Sunday, which took place last weekend, saw farms across the UK welcome the public to discover the story behind their food.

To mark the occasion, Rt Revd Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne, along with Revd Canon Jean Coates, visited four farms meeting bees, alpacas, and trying fresh milk along the way.

Revd Gorham said: "Although farming employs fewer people than in the past, it remains vital, keeping us nourished, protecting our environment and natural heritage, and supporting thousands of jobs in support and distribution.

"The church’s role is to support and affirm all those who make up community life, to encourage signs of God's kingdom which literally ‘give us our daily bread’.

"Farming is going through a great time of uncertainty and I know that anything we can do to support local farms, buy local produce and offer the gift of Christ’s love through our action is much appreciated."

The pair started the day with a visit to visit to Meggy Moo’s fresh dairy farm in Shroton, near Blandford, before visiting North Farm Horton, in Wimborne, which harvests thatching wheat.

They also made a trip to Weymouth’s Bayard Dairy Farm and visited Longthorns alpaca farm, near Wareham, before ending the day with evening prayer at St Bartholomew’s, in the hills above Portesham.

Revd Coates, the diocese’s rural officer for Dorset, who has built valued relationships with farmers throughout the county, said: "All the farms were very different, but it was fantastic to see the range of things that Dorset farmers do.

"It is about understanding better the people in the parishes that we serve. Most people live and work in the same place so it is important to understand what life is like for them and supporting what they do."