A building site….
The focal point of the site is the Eco Centre, which houses the restaurant, shop and events space. Building started in June 2013 with the erection of the timber-frame. This was supplied by Potton and went up very quickly during a dry and sunny summer, complete with photo-voltaic tiles for power and light and a biomass boiler for the underfloor heating systems. This fine building is a showcase for renewable energy and waste water systems and has interiors that are spacious, light and airy, with stunning views.
There’s a barbeque area next to the Eco Centre with a timber-fired clay oven for pizzas. This outdoor space by the pond is an ideal place to enjoy our fresh, homemade food, taking in the views of the farm.
In addition to the new animal barn that was put up in 2010, the remaining agricultural barns – huge spaces with great potential – were converted to play barns with the help of local Aylesbury College Construction Department.
The Messy Play Barn, with its sandpits, soft play and ride-ons for the Under 5s has been open, free of charge, since November 2014. The Soft Play Barn was completed in November 2015.
In spite of another cold, wet winter on clay and more construction and groundwork, including miles of fencing to create the paddocks, the farm opened on the first day of Spring in 2015. There’s now an admission charge which includes the animal areas with the large Animal Barn, Pets Corner and the paddocks, the farmyard with the pedal carts, the Play Barns, the Outdoor Play Area and Nature Trail.
The new grass on the Outdoor Play Area was delayed due to the cold weather and eventually opened in May. There’s a massive sandpit with sand-diggers, climbing frame, giant bouncing pillow, and a special area for the Under 5s. Our Sleeping Dragon mound now opened and is a great vantage point for the whole site! We’ve a large picnic area, with a wet weather shelter, for the use of visitors.
When work on the site began in 2012, one of the first areas of development was the horticultural element. The walled garden, greenhouse/classroom and potting shed are complete and, with our heritage fruit collection in the garden and orchard, play their part in supplying the Eco Centre Café with fresh fruit and veg.
In 2013, over a thousand wild flowers were grown to add a bit of colour to the nature trail. The farm had been intensively farmed for years by previous owners but we’re already re-creating habitats for wildlife that had been lost. The Nature Trail is now open which means visitors can walk around the perimeter of the site. Signage is coming soon!
There is a farmland bird survey in progress and the the wildflower meadow was seeded in the Spring. Work on the wildlife pond and nature lab starts in Summer 2016.