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Hands-on farming adventures with Farm Stay

We just cannot get enough of farming on TV at the moment, and the latest – BBC’s Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure based in the Peak District – has got us all talking about the growing interest in farm-based holidays as opportunities for our guests to learn more about farming life.

Families come to Farm Stay looking for a unique and enriching holiday experience that will see them return home with precious memories, unique photos, and possibly even inspiration for a new life of their own life in the country.

Picture yourself waking up to the sound of happy hens and bleating lambs then pulling on your wellies to join in with the tasks on the farm, from feeding the chickens and collecting newly laid eggs to bottle feeding lambs or calves.

Here’s some inspiration from some Farm Stay hosts, including opportunities to learn to drive a tractor, witness lambs being born, see a top sheepdog and his handler at work, and even feed farmed deer!

Farm tours and lambing

During the spring and summer holidays guests staying at The Olde House in Cornwall have the opportunity to discover what goes on in the fields at Penpont Farm, a 550-acre working farm near Wadebridge. The farm is a mixture of grassland, arable, wetlands, ponds and small woodlands which supports a diverse range of wildlife. The family raise beef cattle and Dorset sheep, with 250 acres of arable land dedicated to growing wheat, barley and oats to feed the animals. Jump on board the trailer for an hour-long tour around the farm and listen to farmer Andrew Hawkey as he gives an engaging commentary about the activities on the farm while son Olly drives the tractor.

If you’d like to experience lambing, book your stay in February and March or November and December. You’ll be able to spend time in the large lambing shed and watch in awe as lambs are born and bottle feed any little ones who need some extra TLC. Children can also learn about how to feed and care for the animals in the farm’s Pets Corner.

The Olde House has 13 self-catering cottages sleeping two to 10 people. When not learning about the farm, there’s lots to do on site, including swimming in the luxurious indoor pool, and enjoying the indoor and outdoor play areas and tennis courts. Plus, there are free activities for the kids during school holidays and a farm trail to explore with wildlife galore.

Feed the animals and drive a tractor

Head to David’s Organic Farm in Pembrokeshire to experience a real farm in action on a 500-acre organic working farm. From calving to seed sowing, new baby chicks hatching to the harvest, there’s always something going on here and guests are positively encouraged to join in with feeding the animals, morning and afternoon. Depending on the time of year, there may be calves or lambs to bottle feed, and eggs to collect from the chickens all year round.

If you’d like to get hands-on experience of what it’s like to work the land, then book yourself onto a tractor driving experience as part of your stay. Expect one-to-one pre-drive briefing and instruction and you’ll be able to learn about different terrain and driving techniques on tracks around the farm.

Choose from one of five characterful cottages sleeping from two to six people in this fabulous rural setting close to the river Taf. Children will enjoy the onsite adventure playground with a fort, swings, slide, an enclosed trampoline, and a small football pitch/cricket pitch.

Sheep dog handling

At Leanach Farm in Scotland, guests can enjoy watching their host, Ian, a Scottish International Sheepdog Handler, demonstrate his excellent sheep herding skills with his working sheepdogs*.

Book your stay on this mixed working farm and enjoy the comforts of the luxurious farmhouse where you can sample the best of Scottish hospitality and enjoy Rosanne’s delicious home cooking and baking. Breakfast is served in a large conservatory with spectacular views over the Culloden Viaduct and Nairn Valley. (It is in an ideal spot for exploring the Scottish Highlands!)

Guest rooms are en-suite, attractively decorated and well equipped with digital TV and tea/coffee making facilities. At the end of an enjoyable day you can put your feet up in a comfortable lounge. Alternatively, there’s a cosy self-catering cottage on the farm which sleeps four.

* Demonstrations are not available in April during the busy lambing season.

Farmed deer  

Head to the Scottish Highlands for a stay at Culligran Cottages where you can enjoy a farm tour and the opportunity to feed the resident deer. This Highland estate farm both sheep and deer in the magical Glen Strathfarrar within a Special Area of Conservation in Inverness-shire.

There’s a choice of either a traditional cottage or a Norwegian chalet and whichever you choose, you’ll be able to watch the wild deer from your window. There are excellent opportunities for watching wildlife, walking, hiking and cycling, as well as salmon and trout fishing on the river Farrar.

Lambing experiences

Hundreds of British sheep farms provide a variety of holiday accommodation, either as B&B rooms, self-catering cottages, or glamping accommodation. The timing of lambing can vary according to location in the UK – early spring in the south, late spring in the north.

For more inspiration for Farm Stay lambing experience holidays head to

https://www.farmstay.co.uk/holidayideas/lambwatch.aspx

and see our recent blog https://www.farmstay.co.uk/news/198/lets_go_lambing_on_a_farm_stay_break