On Friday we visited Hesketh Farm which is part of the Bolton Abbey estate near Skipton.
The owners Sue and Chris open the working farm to the public and kindly allowed me and my friend Louise (and our Children) free entry in return for a review of their facilities.
The grounds are pretty spectacular and being part of the Yorkshire Dales the views from the site are too. The car park is large and the farm is just a few minutes walk. On arrival we were greeted by this welcoming fellow!
Once taken inside the huge barn, we were reminded to wash our hands as often as possible, then off we went! The first animals we came across were the guinea pigs and bunnies. Gabriel loved them! He was very pleased to see then that there were a lot of guinea pigs out in the petting area to hold and stroke. We had a few cuddles, and laughed as we watched them run around on the hay bales!
Next the bell sounded! This meant that it was feeding time for the calves. The staff came into the calves area and announced the feeding instructions to us. It was busy, but I did like that staff made it clear that volunteers should have a go then pass the feeding bottles onto someone else, so that everyone got to have a go. Gabriel and I held a bottle for one of the calves. It was a lovely experience and we haven’t done that before at any other farm visits so it was a nice touch.
Then we had a wander around the rest of the barn. There are lots of animals to look at! More calves and lots of pigs! Farmer Chris told us that they had some brand new piglets so we went to go look at them. They were adorable, feeding on Mummy pig, while she slept!
Gabriel loved looking at the pigs, and I explained that they were just the same as Peppa! He giggled away, he especially liked tickling their tummies with the brushes provided! Some of the pigs rolled around, others just slept soundly!
There were lots of chicks to look at too, all different ages. Even eggs in incubators. Lots of different colours and mixtures of breeds kept this area interesting!
What was great about the barn I felt was, all the useful, yet still simple information on the walls to give visitors information about the animals. I saw Children reading all about the animals, and also what the groupings of animals are called etc. it was a nice addition to usual animal ‘descriptions’.
After spending over an hour in the first barn we made our way through into the play barn. Here the straw maze is housed, along with lots of great play areas, go-carts, ride on tractors, the sand pit and the toy shop and cafe. It’s also where the party area is, which looked great.
The cafe only sells cold sandwiches and hot/cold drinks, which although wasn’t a huge problem, it would have been nice to have a little more choice as we had not taken food with us. They did however, have some amazing looking homemade cakes and treats!
There is a lot of seating both indoor and outside, so on our next visit we will be most definitely be taking a picnic!
The play barn was great fun. We played in most parts of it, the ride on tractors were Gabriel’s favourite. He just could not decide which one to ride!
After lunch we headed outside and spent some time at the outdoor play area. As mentioned earlier, there is plenty of outdoor seating for picnics and and there is also great outdoor apparatus. There is also an additional sand pit and go carts for older Children too.
Then it was time for our tractor ride with Farmer Chris. For an extra £1 per person, visitors can have a ride around the farm, looking at the animals on the farm, with a little commentary on the way.
The tractor ride was great fun, albeit very bumpy! Gabriel and Willow giggled the whole way round I think!
After another walk across the grounds, we ran into this amazing guy
The giant tortoises were amazing and all the Children loved him! We saw so many animals in one day, sheep and lambs, cows and calves, pigs and piglets, donkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs and giant tortoises (our favourite!)
Soon It was time to leave. We had such a great day at Hesketh Farm Park, and would highly recommend you pay them a visit soon!
Hesketh Farm Park is open daily from 10am until 5pm & their website is www.heskethfarmpark.co.uk should you like more information.