Have you ever wondered what happens at Suffolk’s tourist attractions when they are closed for the winter? Well, at Easton Farm Park things don’t really stop when the visitors aren’t there.
The past few weeks have meant lambing, steam cleaning the soft play area, painting the barns, putting up new displays, mending fences and chicken coops, more lambing, getting the new mini farm trail ready, lots of mucking out, and oh yes …more lambing. In fact Steve, the manager, is looking forward to when all 40 ewes have had their babies because at the moment he says he’s got lambs coming out of his ears!
Baby animals are one of the main draws to the Farm Park, and this Spring there are 2 gorgeous litters of piglets (Large Black and Gloucester Old Spot), tottering kids, newly hatched chicks and ducklings, and plenty of lambs. More offspring will arrive in the summer when the donkeys foal, the Kune Kune pig farrows, and the Belted Galloway and Longhorn cows calve. Careful family planning goes on in the closed season to make sure the babies arrive when the visitors do. There are two new ponies with showbiz connections to make a fuss of as well. Bella and Teddy (mother and son) are Falabella ponies who it’s said once used to belong to the singer Sting.
This season will see the return of an area where children can get up close to some of the animals. The mini farm trail will allow people to stroke lambs and kids, and even a pig in a safe enclosed space. The Farm Park, and similar tourist attractions, had to stop this experience a few years ago because of worries about E.coli but new guidance has come out on the subject and everyone doing the trail will be able to wash their hands and buggy wheels at the end.
Some of the paddocks are water meadows which flood when the River Deben breaks its banks. The winter has been particularly wet and this has made it hard to get some of the new attractions in the wooded areas finished. Students from Otley College have been turning part of the woods into a place for den building, building a Fairy Walk, making bird hides, and an outdoor education area. Over the next few weeks the grass should dry out but if you want to take a look at what they’ve done so far make sure you wear your wellies when you head out on the Green Trail.
Next to the gift shop is the Nature Room which has been given a make-over. There’s a display explaining how the willow trees are turned into cricket bats, and lift-the-flap boards about different birds. More improvements are planned for the summer, a better caravan site, a new chef to run the Barmy Barn kitchen, and a giant bouncy pillow near the play area.
So make sure you come and visit Easton Farm Park soon and check out the calendar for our special events.