Last weekend was a bit of a washout weatherwise, but we still managed to get a decent day out on at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. The rain held off, and there was even some sun…always a bonus when you’re going to a child friendly location at the start of half term.
Although we’d been to the Cotswold Wildlife Park a few times, and don’t live that far away, we’ve never been to the farm park. It feels a bit like a busman’s holiday I suppose, but I thought N might like to get a bit more up close and personal with some of the cuddlier animals where on our farm he can’t really get that close.
If you’re a fan of Countryfile (if not, why not?!) then you’ll know that it’s Adam Henson’s farm. We saw him wandering round while we were having some lunch, so if you’re a star spotter, he’ll stop and have his photo taken. No, I didn’t gawp or ask for an autograph, although we did see someone ask for a photo with him.
The farm park seemed really well set out and perfect for children. It’s wristband entry which makes it easy if you want to go back to the car at all or off site before returning. There are plenty of maps around showing where different areas are, and it’s set in a fairly small area so although there’s a bit of off road/path walking if you want to walk round all the animals fields, then it’s not going to be too hard for children to do the whole site.
N headed straight for one of the playground areas of course. There are a variety of playgrounds – some for younger children including ride on tractors to pedal round a track, and some with a zip wire and larger wooden climbing apparatus for older children. We got there at opening time so N had chance to have a good play before it got too busy. He made the most of it – pedalling round like mad on one of the ride on tractors.
I managed to drag him off with the lure of the electric tractors. He made the minimum height level by some way, but still struggled to keep his foot down hard enough on the pedal. The downside of having short legs. But he loved driving the tractors round the track.
The demonstration barn has various talks and demos, all scheduled on noticeboards so you can work out which you want to see and when. We headed to sit on the hay bales and watch the goat milking. I don’t think in all the Tractor Ted dvds that N has, that he’s seen goats being milked, so that was something new for him.
We had a quick whizz round the ‘touch’ barn where the children could feed or touch the animals. He loved the goats.
Seeing goat kids always makes me think back to my first year in secondary school: we had a school farm and had a lesson a week on environmental science during the first year. Really it was a mad teacher telling gory anecdotes, but it was great fun. And for a few weeks, we were allowed to use the lesson to pair up and look after a kid each. Taking a kid for a walk out to the field was definitely an experience for an 11 year old!
There was also the opportunity to watch the newly hatched chicks and even hold the older chicks, but N was a man on a mission. He just wanted to get back to playing.
He had a lot of bouncing on the bouncy pillow. It’s great as there’re 2, one for under and one for over 6 year olds. So no tots being bounced off by the older children. N loves jumping on his trampoline, so he was in his element – once he could get onto it! Comedy watching his attempts at that.
And not forgetting one of the sandpits. I’m amazed at how much N likes sand. He’s spent most of the week at nursery playing with the sand there as well…can’t see the draw myself.
I managed to persuade him that we should go and look at some of the larger animals to compare the cattle to those we have on our farm. Cue more running around up and down a hill, interspersed with brief looks over fences at a pig, some ponies and the highland cattle.
By that time, N was hungry (when is he not?), so we went to find some food.
There’s a an informal snack bar, selling drinks, kids ‘lunchboxes’ and a few bits and bobs. There’s slightly more choice in the café. A few hot meal choices, sandwiches, and children’s lunchboxes. N loved the latter as they were Tractor Ted boxes. I prefer it when you can pick and choose from a selection what goes into the boxes, as these had yoghurt which N can’t have and not one that I’d eat instead. I asked for a swap for something else, and credit to them, the staff on the till did let us have an extra sandwich instead. It would be nice if there was fruit or jelly as an alternative, as the other option was more raisins.
But the food was good quality, the hot meals looked good and there was a decent selection of drinks; the prices are on a par with similar other places. Next time if the weather was really good, we’d take a picnic as there are places to do so.
We had a good morning out but didn’t really touch on what was going on. There’s a maze to explore and find animals for children, for which they can get a badge for a completed worksheet, a woodland walk area, plus a safari farm ride, and all the other demos (shearing, feeding etc). N just wasn’t that interested as I suppose he can see lots of those things at home. But he had a good play on the playground equipment; a great time without all the other farm specific activities.
You could easily spend a day there, and for the money, that’s definitely good value. For the two of us it was just over £16, so a good price for a day out.
Have you been to Cotswold Farm Park, or a farm park near you?
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