In the midst of the Cumbrian countryside, Old Hall Farm not only provides a few hours of enjoyment to its many visitors but a fascinating history lesson, too.
As a working farm, 19th century methods, including heavy horses and steam engines, are employed to grow crops and harvest the land. Meanwhile, there are many historic implements, vehicles and other exhibits on display as you stroll around this compact and interesting farm.
There is a free car park for visitors who can enjoy the farm’s attractions virtually most of the year. The 2013 season has seen gates open daily from end of May to the beginning of November; the rest of the year, it’s open weekends only.
Just outside the official entrance, the Chicken Shed Tea Room offers tea, coffee, cakes and light snacks – and it can be enjoyed by anyone, not just those people actually entering the farm. Many products come from the farm and I can vouch for the cream teas: the Jersey cream I piled on my scone was delicious.
There is a range of activities most days, such as feeding animals, watching the Shire horses working and cheese-making. The farm, which is launching themed kids’ parties, also offers a range of courses, including working with steam engines and tractor driving; also, comprehensive tours can be arranged (calls to the farm during the evening are recommended for anyone wishing to organise a personal tour).
I visited with my wife and two children (aged 12 and six) and we enjoyed just strolling around. A blacksmith’s shop has been created to show visitors what a typical workshop would have been like, while I enjoyed visiting the Implement Shed. Not only does it house a range of tools used during the period but a selection of vintage vehicles, all used for general farm use, including a Morris 1924 pick-up and 1959 Perkins combine.
Among the animals at the farm is a herd of pedigree Jersey cows, Hereford beef cattle, Gloucester Old Spot pigs and Aylesbury ducks.
Before leaving, we enjoyed another cup of tea while Peter, our youngest, jumped on one of the toy tractors adjacent to the seating area and practised his driving skills!
Overall, I’d recommend visiting Old Hall Farm, where family tickets (two adults and up to three children) cost £20 during the 2013 season.
Old Hall Farm
T: 01229 861993