From hoof to loaf – Brixton pupils see the start of wheat’s journey

Tom Nixon with Heath and Nobby
Tom Nixon with Heath (left) and Nobby

Pupils from Brixton’s Hill Mead primary school were in Ruskin Park today to see shire horses Nobby and Heath plough another heritage wheat growing area.

They and pupils from other local schools braved bitter cold and rain to watch the two enormous horses help champion ploughman Tom Nixon turn over the ground and to learn about how wheat grows.

Nobby and Heath are from Operation Centaur in Richmond Park and they are due to be back in Ruskin Park at 2pm on Saturday 17 February to harrow (break up) the ground they ploughed today before seed is sown.

There will be refreshments from Landor Road’s Old Post Office Bakery and a chance to find out more about the wheat growing project and the horses.

Operation Centaur are working on the project with the Friends of Ruskin Park, Brixton Windmill, the Brockwell Bake Association and others.



Harnessing Heath
Harnessing Heath


Leaving the harnessing area
Stand back – these horses are heavy – leaving the harnessing area


Heath (left) is the senior partner. Nobby, only eight years old, is still learning
Heath (left) is the senior partner. Nobby, only eight years, old is still learning


Minor adjustment – there's more to ploughing than walking behind horses
Minor adjustment – there’s more to ploughing than walking behind horses


Hill Mead pupils learn about wheat and how it is grown
Hill Mead pupils learn about wheat and how it is grown


Scattering the seed
Scattering the seed


  1. Thomas and others, we really appreciate the warm response to this project and hope it will go from strength to strength. We hope to see people on the 17th, from 10am weather permitting.

    Friends of Ruskin Park

  2. Hi Ed,

    as far as we know harrowing on Ruskin Park will start 10am, not 2pm on Saturday17th but I’ll try to keep you informed if that changes at all. Knowledgeable and meticulous volunteers for the sowing after the harrowing are sought.


  3. Hi Thomas. I understood that they are “Shire” horses. But Operation Centaur (link in text) could tell you.

  4. So beautiful to see this! Being a descendant of a European farming family, whose grand father still reared, trained and used horses to plow fields prior to the “tractor evolution’, it fills me with great joy to see such a local initiative was given the go ahead.
    I had such a golden childhood with horse riding and plenty of fresh air and exposure to farm life, I can only begin to imagine how much good it must be doing for our little urban fellas, that probably have not seen those large draft horses ever before. I am curious to know as to what breed these two beauties belong to? My guess is Percheron (oldest French draft breed), but I would like confirmation on this.
    I really love how Brixton is increasingly honouring its rural and agricultural past and my wish would be to see more of this at the annual Country Fair, rather than the “off topic” mobile phone stands or fairground rides, or crammed animals in plastic tents.
    Pity the weather was so miserable, but 100% support from me for initiatives like this. WELL DONE AND THANKS to everyone facilitating this wonderful event.

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