This week we have had a wonderful greeting into Spring as we visited Church Farm Stow Bardolph for a family day out.
As always we had fully prepped Louie, who is 5 years old and autistic, about the day by showing him various videos and photos from Church Farm’s Facebook pages and website. Needless to say all three children were very excited especially as we see photos of the farms new arrivals of lambs, some born just the day before!
Situated in the quaint, little village of Stow Bardolph you will find the farm, clearly sign posted, with more than adequate parking facilities.
On arrival the children ran straight for the animal pens despite the extensive range of activities and play equipment there. We passed the petting pen which the children adore as they can actually get into the pen and stroke and see the goats, chickens and rabbits at the closest possible range. After we made our way into the main stable with the pens for donkeys, sheep and pigs which also allow your access to pet the animals.
What I love about Church Farm is it’s spacial layout. Families can wander at their own leisure around the farm without that constant crowded feeling other petting zoos and farms may have. This works especially well for us as a family as Louie has a great anxiety for crowded situations causing us to have to leave early from certain events.
One of the main highlights for me was the “sheep maternity ward” where I could sympathise to the many bedraggled, heavy looking sheep hefting themselves around in the last few days before birth. Here we were lucky enough to see the birth of two lambs which was amazing and heart warming as we witnessed their entrance to the world and how quickly they recovered, taking first steps and feeding from their mother. As a city girl these were sights I have never seen and the staff patiently endured every single one of my relentless questions however naive they may have been. The staff were all so friendly and couldn’t accommodate visitors and their questions anymore than they did. You could see they are truly passionate for their work and the animals at the farm and that this is clearly not just a 9 to 5 job for them.
I love the fact that all the animal’s pens have clearly labelled signs introducing them by names with a description of their breed and history at the farm. The children loved that the animals had actual names and it made them more personal to them and relatable.
After a few circuits around the animal pens the children were ready for lunch after some thorough hand washing at the hand washing stations which were located in various positions and easily accessible to all. The little cafe was lovely for a coffee and some amazing looking cakes, all reasonably priced and which also sold hot food. We took a packed lunch and sat in one of the many picnic areas.
After lunch the children were excited to get involved with the many activities for children of all ages. They started with the sunken trampolines, followed by time on the mini tractor track, of which there are two – one for toddlers and one for older children, obviously Boss Baby refused the toddler track and slowed everyone down on the big kid routes.
Following on from the tractors there were football goals and an area for a kick about, along with two barns, one full of hay bales and another a huge beach-like sand pit. My children absolutely loved the sand pit and all the buckets, spades, sieves, diggers and dumper trucks available for them to use in the sand. Louie loves the whole sensory experience of sand and this was one of his favourite parts of the day as he made tracks with the trucks in the sand.
Lastly we headed inside for the indoor play area which is fantastic. There is so much do inside for the children with wooden tree house type climbing apparatus and slides, to toys and play shops with a whole range of high quality wooden toys. There is even a little reading corner with cushions and an extensive array of books.
Church Farm will definitely be on my list for future school holidays and weekend visits. I highly recommend it for families of all ages. Many thanks for having us!