16 Farm days out in and around Manchester

One of my favourite kind of day out with my boy is visiting a farm or petting zoo. We’ve been visiting them since he was a toddler and they really are fun for all the family. Going on a day out to a farm is both a fun and learning experience. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip out either. There are many community farms which are free to visit, or have a minimal admission fee.

Our local farm is Wythenshawe Community Farm and we love visiting. It’s small but has lots of animals to see and learn about. Plus it’s next door to a huge and very fun playground; there’s a nearby café and the farm shop is well worth a visit.

15 Farm days out in and around Manchester

I’ve come up with a list of 15 Farm Days out in and around Manchester for you to explore this summer.

16 Farm days out in and around Manchester

Apple Jacks Adventure Farm, Warrington – More of an adventure playground with a maze than a farm or petting zoo. Lots of fun all the same.

Blaze Farm, Ice Cream Farm, Macclesfield – Famous for their homemade ice cream, Blaze Farm also has nature trails and a tea room on site. It is free to visit.

Canalside Farm, Adlington, Cheshire – A new petting farm in Cheshire. No booking required and only £4 per person to visit.

Cockfields Farm Park, Ashton-under-Lyne – Popular petting zoo with indoor and outdoor play areas, reptile shows and small animal handling sessions.

Heaton Park Animal Centre, Heaton Park, Manchester – The Animal Centre, set in the old stables, is a great free place to take the kids. You can meet many common farmyard animals; including chickens, goats, pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits as well as more exotic species such as alpacas.

15 Farm days out in and around Manchester

Kenyon Hall Farm, Warrington – Kenyon Hall Farm is a farm shop, café, plant centre and pick your own experience near Warrington. It has a summer trail and pumpkin picking in the autumn.

Lancaster Park & Animal Farm, Oldham – Lancaster Park is a family run petting farm near Oldham which has farm animals to pet and feed, along with activities for all the family.

Matlock Farm Park, Derbyshire – Matlock Farm is a family-friendly day out with play areas, go-karting and a petting zoo with Highland cattle, llamas and more.

Mrs Dowsons Farm Park, Blackburn – This is a family-run dairy farm with a children’s play area, talks and activities and homemade ice cream!

Reddish Vale Farm, Stockport – Popular farm with horse riding and animals to meet and pet from cows to alpacas, plus a tearoom on site. Read about our visit here.

Smithills Open Farm, Bolton – The popular farm in Bolton has tractor rides, a pets’ corner where you can meet guinea pigs, chick, rabbits, lambs, deer, goats and many more animals. You can also enjoy ice cream and super-fun play areas.

15 Farm days out in and around Manchester

Tatton Park Farm, Tatton, Cheshire – This 40 acre working farm is set in a corner of the park known as Tatton Dale. The farm is fun for all the family, meet some of the rare breeds; explore the farm and learn about some of the history of farming at Tatton.

The Donkey Sanctuary, Manchester – A seven-acre oasis of calm and peace in Manchester, the donkey sanctuary offers donkey-assisted learning services.

The Garden House, Marple, Stockport – The Garden House is a registered charity and community farm in Marple, Cheshire. They have a variety of animals, including pygmy goats, alpacas, Shetland ponies and pigs. Check out their website to see what’s on throughout the year.

Wythenshawe Community Farm, Wythenshawe – is a community farm based in Wythenshawe Park. The farm is a registered charity, and it is open all days of the week. It has a selection of farm animals including pigs, sheep, goats, cows and horses; and it often has baby animals on site due to its breeding programme. The farm’s walled garden grows fruit and vegetables which are available in the farm shop.

If you enjoyed this, then you might want to read about these 11 dinosaur days out in the North West.

15 Farm days out in and around Manchester

Days Out: Wythenshawe Community Farm

Last weekend we headed to our local community farm, it’s small but is home to cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, a little Shetland pony, a gaggle of ducks and a peacock. We’d heard that a calf had been born that morning so we were keen to go along and meet the new arrival.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Wythenshawe Community Farm is a lovely little farm which we visit on a regular basis. It’s especially charming in spring when they have newborn lambs and calves to ahh over. We were not disappointed, there were several calves including one which was just 3 hours old and still wobbly on his legs, as well as tiny triplet newborn lambs and some slightly older lambs frolicking in a paddock tucked away in the walled garden.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Our first stop was to see the newborn calf, both baby and mum were in a pen of their own. Mum was nuzzling and looking after her baby and it was a lovely sight. The calf was very wobbly on its legs but it had a drink of milk and then curled up for a rest.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Tucked away in a nearby shed was a Jacob cross sheep and her day old triplets. You can’t see the lambs too well, but I didn’t want to intrude on her, but they were incredibly sweet.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

We heard (and could hear) that there were more lambs in a paddock in the walled garden, so we wandered over to have a look. In the walled garden there was a pony, some goats, some older sheep and a paddock full of ewes and their lambs. Its also a good space for little ones to run around (under supervision) and there were teams of volunteers digging out the vegetable beds ready for some spring planting.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

There were a lot of twin lambs and they were all cheeky and a joy to watch as they jumped and played, baa-ing their heads off.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

The small boy LOVED the cheeky lambs and we couldn’t tear him away. I suspect we have another sheep enthusiast in the family!

Although Wythenshawe Community Farm is small, we spent a couple of hours there exploring, talking about the animals, falling in love with the lambs and having a lovely spring afternoon together.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Whilst the boys went to have another look at the cows I visited the on-site farm shop. It’s small but excellent value. I picked up  large jar of local honey, 6 duck eggs, two blocks of Greenfields Lancashire cheese and 12 primulas (they sell plants, they’re always really good quality). I bought all of that for a few pence shy of £15 and I know that any profit will be ploughed back into this great community resource.

Next to Wythenshawe Community Farm is a huge playground to explore, and on the other side of that is a community cafe and Wythenshawe Hall, which had a fire last week so is not at present open to the public.

If you’re in South Manchester I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Wythenshawe Community Farm to meet the animals, we’ll be going again soon to check on the progress of the triplets and see how the baby calf is doing. It’s free to visit, there is parking nearby and they always have such a lot going on for local families to enjoy. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more information and updates.

A day at Coombe Mill

For a year now I’ve been following Fiona @CoombeMill on Twitter. She takes the most beautiful pictures of the place where her and her family live and work, Coombe Mill. A couple of months ago I casually mentioned that’d we’d be nearby for our summer holiday, Fiona very kindly invited us to swing by and spend the day exploring. So we did.

Coombe Mill is a 30 acre estate in North Cornwall. Fiona and family have some lovely Scandinavian lodges and stone cottages which families can book for their holidays, the accommodation is beautiful, but the real reason people stay at Coombe Mill is that is it fantastic for kids. It has it’s own working (but very safe) farm, as well as a model railway, playground and play areas, and an under construction fairy garden. It’s ace.

We arrived just before 9am and Fiona treated us to a massive mug of much needed coffee. We were waiting for her husband, aka Farmer Nick to come round with the tractor, so we could join him and all the other children staying at Coombe Mill for the morning feed run.

We hopped aboard the tractor and headed off across the stream to feed the animals. The small boy is obsessed (understatement) with farms and animals, so he was utterly delighted to meet the the pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, peacocks, donkeys, deer and wallabies at Coombe Mill.

We pootled around feeding them all and collected eggs from the chickens which he loved doing. He met some baby chicks, hopped after the wallabies (Bruce and Sheila, naturally) and fell in love with the cheeky goats.

Coombe Mill

The highlight for us was the “deer hunt” which was not as sinister as it sounds. They have a herd of fallow deer and a few of the ladies were pregnant and due any day, Farmer Nick had an inkling that we might find a newborn deer if we were very good, very quiet and very lucky. We searched through the bracken, around the trees and rocks and we found, nestled in a gap in the rocks, a baby deer. I tried to take a picture but it was impossible to get a good look at it. But it was a real privilege.

After feeding time with Farmer Nick, the small boy got to help drive the tractor back to Coombe Mill, and we took of freshly laid eggs and had egg of toast with Fiona. It’s a simple but rare pleasure, a freshly laid egg, but it was a real treat.

Fiona then gave us a little tour of the site and the lodges (which are beautiful and spacious), she then took us to the little railway they’ve constructed, which wasn’t running until later that day, but even that provided a good half hours entertainment for the small boy.

It’s such a beautiful place. In truth we were eyeing it up with a view to staying there next year and I think it’s the perfect holiday spot for anyone with little ones. The small boy had an absolute ball and has talked of nothing else since which is always a good sign.

We had a lovely day and send a big thank you to Fiona and Farmer Nick for including us in their busy day. Coombe Mill is a great place, I can see why everyone adores it!