A BOURTON farm has celebrated 6,000 years of wildlife, people, food and farming with the launch of a new and innovative robotic milker.

Greystones Farm Nature Reserve in Bourton-on-the-Water has revealed a new freedom milking system, in conjunction with plans to improve the site.

The farm hosted a special launch event with tours, specially-made canapes, archaeological finds and wildlife encounters to celebrate the new innovation.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust partnered up with organic farmer and Cotswold cheese-maker Simon Weaver to spruce up the farm.

Around 60 cows will now be based at the site and will be milked by the newly installed robotic milker.

The completion of this 21st century milking parlour complete with its robotic milker is the first step in plans by the Wildlife Trust to improve the site for people and wildlife, developing unused farm buildings into a discovery centre for schools, visitors and residents.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, which also supported the purchase of the site, have confirmed a further grant of more than £100,000 to help develop ideas for the new discovery centre.

The new plans were launched at an event last Wednesday and visitors has the opportunity to look around the new freedom milking system and watch the robot in action.

Experts from Cotswold Archaeology also came along, bringing with them artefacts from a recent dig at the farm while a member of Cotswold Falconry attended with a barn owl for visitors to meet.

Canapes were also provided by Lower Slaughter Manor, made with Greystones single Gloucester cheese.

CEO of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Roger Mortlock said: “Greystones Farm has a good claim to be the birthplace of the Cotswolds. It has been an important meeting place, a farm and wildlife haven since Neolithic times.

"The arrival of the robotic milking system launches a new chapter for the farm; one where we plan to tell the rich history of the place and involve many more people in its future."

The development of the nature reserve at Greystones Farm has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and with the ongoing support of Grundon Waste Management, the local community and the Trust’s members.