Who doesn’t love a good farm park? Part II
By Rebecca Chiazzese, Associate with Reading Agricultural Consultants.
Having supported farm attraction developments through planning across the UK, I always look forward to catching up with contacts at the National Farm Attractions Network annual conference and awards. This year we were in Shropshire and enjoyed open days at local farm attractions, the Annual Awards and conference.
Farm Park owners are often family businesses – husband and wife, parents and their offspring. It is a very friendly, approachable and supportive network of operators and supporting trades, such as play equipment providers.
Tapnell Farm on the Isle of Wight developed from a dairy farm to a successful farm park with the support of excellent business planning. They picked up the farm attraction of the year award (under 75,000 visitors). A Client of mine from another consultancy Hobbledown, picked up the highly commended award for the farm attraction of the year with over 75,000 visitors. Congratulations!
The farm attraction business seems to be doing very well and there is plenty of competition and innovation across the industry. New entrants to the market are able to learn from others and improve on the quality of offer and variety of experiences available.
There was a visit to Park Hall Farm Experience. Here there is an Ofsted registered Forest Pre-school, perhaps the first of its kind in the UK. The farm park had also built a replica Iron Age roundhouse with grant funding and help from local interest groups. This was being used as an immersive learning space. More learning was on offer from a milking parlour with a viewing area where visitors see cows being milked installed by Marshfield Dairy.
The next visitor attraction related event I’m attending is the Vision XS Annual Conference on the 7th March in Wallingford, Oxfordshire titled ‘Let me entertain you’ focussing on the art of putting on amazing talks, shows and demos to entice guests. Vision XS are visitor attraction experts making the link between visitor experience and economics.
If you are thinking of diversifying your land holding into a visitor attraction or leisure use, please call Rebecca on 01491 684233 for advice and to register your interest in a seminar/workshop on these opportunities.