Old Holly Farm was an established dairy and sheep farm, with a courtyard of traditional but redundant farm buildings. Based close to a major road the farm is readily accessible to visitors from the nearby towns.
Farmer David Pye, with the support of the Rural Futures team sought planning advice and submitted a planning application to diversify to create a children's activity barn, open farm, farm shop and café. Upon approval the Rural Futures team made application for capital funding to transform the buildings in the disused courtyard successfully securing public funding from DEFRA to allow the project to go ahead.
As the building work neared completion the Rural Futures team arranged for the team running the new farm attraction to meet with those running other farm attractions across the country and discuss the practical requirements of those who invite children and schools to their farms. Finally Rural Futures team members offered advice and funding to develop the branding and marketing of the site and put the management in touch with a number of local food suppliers.
Today the play barn is a hive of activity. Derelict buildings are now beautifully renovated and the result has been to create a new visitor attraction for locals and staying visitors. The farm shop and café celebrate and promote local food, providing an outlet to a number of local food manufacturers. So from what were once redundant buildings, the farm now supports a range of other local businesses.
Since opening, a further business has been established making ice cream on the site using the farm's own organic milk. Still a working dairy farm the result is that it reconnects children with the source of food. And permissive footpaths are being planned to allow the public to explore the farm more widely. With an educational programme built around the needs of the national curriculum it promotes:
- Local food
- Healthy eating
- Active lifestyles
- Local distinctiveness
- Access to the countryside
The business has been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, the new national accreditation scheme, recognising providers of quality, and safely managed educational experiences for young people.
Old Holly Farm Leaflet (951kb PDF)