Down on the (Manydown) farm.
Saturday, April 12, 2014.
Dear mummy, it’s been murky all week and we’ve had more April showers to fill a whole year in just a week! It’s a big risk going to the farm today. We peer out of the window and the sun is shining and the clouds are thin and wispy.
Our bags are packed and we are on another adventure into the unknown. It’s the first time I’ve been to a real working farm!
We head just around the corner to Manydown Farm for their Easter Family Fun day. As it’s lambing season the farm is open with lots of activities for children to do. From crafts to sandcastle building, petting the animals to go cart racing, the whole family is excited to visit today. We even bring Grandma along to see the lambs and chicks, as she grew up on a farm, we knew she would like to see all the animals.
Manydown Farm is based just outside Basingstoke in Hampshire. It has a lovely farm shop which sells yummy fresh food, locally sourced and is also is home to a great little gift shop. The staff are friendly and welcoming. It feels like a family run business! There is ample parking and a big white marquee directs us to the entrance of the farm. It’s a bit windy today and we feel it, being on top of a hill which overlooks Basingstoke.
Our first stop is the food tent where mummy and daddy pick up a burger and chips and I sit on mummy’s lap and enjoy some ham and a jacket potato. There are no high chairs which is a shame and I can see a lot of other babies in their push chairs eating. I’m happy to be sat like a big girl at one of the picnic tables. It’s too breezy to be sat outside even though the weather is nice.
After lunch we head to the massive haystack, it’s built like a pyramid and I can’t resist the challenge to climb it. However, I am too small for this task, so mummy and daddy have to help lift me up onto it. I walk precariously on the edge while mummy holds me. Eventually I flop down to sit on the warm hay.
The hay has soaked up all the suns heat and it feels toasty warm on my little bottom. I could sit here for ages and chill out.
Daddy wants to have a go on the go-carting so we trundle over to the far field, passing the racing sheep on the way! I know, strange, eh!? These sheep are VERY friendly…I think it’s because they want some of my grub.
Mummy makes a fool of herself on the go-carts (I thought they were only intended for children!?) however we see other adults on them. It’s hard work pedalling them around the go-carting track. My mummy is out of breath!
Next we visit the lambs in the working farm yard. There are so many of them and they are very small. Some of them have numbers on the side of them. Bright markers in their woolly fleeces. We meet a very friendly orphan lamb and his handler. The orphan lamb is only 9 days old! He’s so cute! I can get up and personal with the little lamb and stroke his fleece. We have a staring competition and he wins when I look away. Other children take turns stroking him and we watch him have his bottle.
In the next pen the larger sheep are very rude! Bumping into each other to get to the food pellets we received at the entrance. Carefully mummy, we don’t want to give them too much! Greedy sheep.
We go to the petting area of the farm, where farm handlers are surrounded by rabbit hutches and chirping chicks. We see children holding guinea pigs and bunnies. A farm worker hands me a small pot, inside it is a tiny yellow chick. It’s so soft and cute, I stroke it gently. Grandma and Daddy watch me like hawks to make sure I am gentle with this little bird. I’m fascinated by his small beak and fluffy wings. I can hear his friends and family chirping in their coop.
Our next stop is the woodland walk where I go for a little nap in my buggy and have quiet time. Mummy and Daddy admire the views and see more sheep and the Kune Kune Pigs. They read up about hedgerow life which surrounds the farm, by looking at the information signs that Manydown Farm have up around the walk.
Manydown Farm also has an Easter Egg Trail that you can follow when you go on the big tractor ride around the fields. This was great fun and Mummy had to spot and write down all the names of the eggs and hand her form into staff to be entered for the competition to win a free day out.
Her favourite named egg was Egbert. The man on the tractor was very friendly and funny.
As we are heading for the exit Mummy spots the crafting area in the white marquee. Picnic tables are set up and we see children getting their face painted and others colouring in white Easter Egg templates as part of a competition that Manydown Farm are running.
We decide to join in and mummy helps me with my design.
I’m sure we’ll win!! I manage to get colouring pen over my face, hands and even on my tongue, everywhere apart from the Easter Egg card which my Mummy keeps pointing to encourage me to colour in. Typical eh?!
A great day was had by all (including daddy in his digger!). All the other children we met had big smiles on their faces as well. The weather helped as it was dry and I bet this place is beautiful when it heats up a little, as it is a bit cold and windy up on the hill. This farm is so local to us I’m sure we’ll be back in the summer.