Cotswold Life

We’re back in busi­ness

The Farm Park doors are open and a re­union with our guests has never been so sweet

- Con­tact @Adamhen­son T: 01451 850307 Travel · Facebook · Elizabeth II

We’re back in busi­ness and I couldn’t be more de­lighted! I’m sure that phrase has been heard many times in the last few weeks as the Coro­n­avirus lock­down has been ten­ta­tively eased to al­low our lo­cal pubs, restau­rants and ho­tels to re-open. It’s my sen­ti­ment ex­actly, as the loos­en­ing of the re­stric­tions means vis­i­tors can at last re­turn to the Cotswold Farm Park.

Watch­ing spring slowly turn to high sum­mer with­out the chat­ter and ac­tiv­ity from the thou­sands of peo­ple who’d usu­ally be here in the first few months of the tourist sea­son has been strange to say the least. But as I un­locked the en­trance gates on July 4, it re­ally did feel like our In­de­pen­dence Day. Of course things aren’t quite the same as be­fore; the new ‘ nor­mal’ means all vis­i­tors have to pre-book tick­ets on­line, our staff are work­ing be­hind pro­tec­tive screens and sani­tiser sta­tions have popped up all over the site. It’s a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion at the car­a­van and camp­site, where we quickly got to grips with the whole idea of con­tact­less ar­rival and de­par­ture, to the point where it feels like we’ve been do­ing it for ever.

The gates might have been closed since the mid­dle of March (one hun­dred-and-five long, lonely days) but there’s been plenty go­ing on while the guests have been away. There are lots of new ar­rivals who were born dur­ing lock­down and it cer­tainly felt odd in the mid­dle of lamb­ing, calv­ing and kid­ding not to be able to share the miracle of new life with wide-eyed and open-mouthed mem­bers of the pub­lic. So thank good­ness for so­cial me­dia where my daugh­ter Ella was able to share pho­tos and videos of our furry, fluffy new-borns as well as a few of the fully-grown favourites such as Barry the Al­bion steer and Straw­berry the milk­ing cow.

And there’s no deny­ing the power of Face­book when we needed names for some of the new ar­rivals; as soon as we posted pic­tures of our un­named baby an­i­mals, hun­dreds of sug­ges­tions came flood­ing in. So we now have four Glouces­ter­shire Old Spot piglets called Pars­ley, Sage, Rose­mary and Thyme; three don­key foals called Sparky, Sunny and Dandy; and two High­land calves who’ll be known as Unity and Uno.

Mean­while our gor­geous Suf­folk Punch mare, Lexi, has been off to stud.

De­spite the breed’s proud his­tory as a work­ing heavy horse, the Suf­folk is now crit­i­cally rare so ev­ery new-born is a cause for cel­e­bra­tion. You might re­mem­ber that last year Lexi gave birth to a pre­ma­ture foal which trag­i­cally died just hours later. I was dev­as­tated. But we’re try­ing again and as the ges­ta­tion pe­riod for horses is 11 months, we’re all very aware that there’s still a long way to go. I’ll keep you posted.

There’s been drama on the farm too with the dis­cov­ery of a flock of 11 or­phaned wild duck­lings. We nur­tured them for sev­eral weeks, then when they’d learnt to swim in our pad­dling pool we re­lo­cated them to a sec­tion of lake on a neigh­bour­ing farm.

Mean­while, if you’re a Coun­try­file fan then you’ll know that not only has the pro­gramme con­tin­ued through­out the Covid19 cri­sis but my reg­u­lar film­ing as­sign­ments on the farm have also car­ried on. Al­though the way we pro­duce TV has had to change dra­mat­i­cally with so­cial dis­tanc­ing, per­sonal safety mea­sures and hand hy­giene taken ex­tremely se­ri­ously. I’m not trav­el­ling or shar­ing ve­hi­cles with the crew, the amount of equip­ment we use has been stripped back and ev­ery bit of kit is dis­in­fected be­fore and af­ter the shoot. So it’s safety first, on the telly as well as on the farm! And as I watch more vis­i­tors ar­rive at the Farm Park, I think back to the early days of lock­down and the Queen’s spe­cial broad­cast from Wind­sor when she promised that “We will meet again”. Af­ter the sad­ness and anx­i­ety of the last three months, it’s a sweeter, more spe­cial re­union than I could ever have imag­ined.

 ??  ?? Adam with Old Spot piglets, Pars­ley, Sage, Rose­mary and Thyme
Adam with Old Spot piglets, Pars­ley, Sage, Rose­mary and Thyme

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