DOWN ON THE FARM – Number 1
Living in Scotland I’ve noticed several farms are now actively trying to attract the family market, they’re diversifying and looking for new income streams and tiny tots like yours are just the kind of customers they want. As a parent I’m interested in teaching my toddler where food comes from as he honestly only ever sees the Asda delivery van so doing a farm series is a perfect learning experience for him and it’s fresh air for Mr Baby too.
The first in the series is the VSA Easter Anguston Farm in Peterculter, Aberdeenshire. This is a little bit different as the VSA is an Aberdeen charity that works to improve lives in the granite city. It was originally gifted the land in Peterculter and now trains and develops individuals with special needs in animal husbandry, horticulture and farm management. The farm opens its doors to tot visitors from April to October, and Mr Toddler was straight in there.
So what’s in it for the kids? Lots.
Let’s start with the furry and feathered friends. As we visited on a slightly dreich morning many of the beasts were indoors which actually meant we got really close to them. Mr Toddler took a very long, hard look at the Shetland ponies. He saw piggies, loads of rabbits, various fowl, ferrets, a gigantic goat (I’ve never seen a goat that big, it troubled me) and little lambs snuggled up. Later at lunch we did try to explain that the ham Mr Toddler was eating came from piggies just like the ones we’d seen at Easter Anguston but he just looked bemused and chomped on – note to self, must work harder at rural education.
Next we did one of the walks and trails down to the duck pond. Mr Toddler ran towards the ‘quacks quacks’ and was deeply saddened when they bolted in the opposite direction. Why don’t they love him?
We walked back past the rows of fruit which are being cultivated. There’s a big Strawberry Fayre on 18th June 2016 with lots of activities and bouncy castles as well as fruit picking. You can simply buy a punnet of strawberries if you’re feeling a bit lazy, so that’s another date for the diary.
We stopped at the cafe for a slab of coconut cake and coffee. It also sells light lunches (soup and a sandwich style) as well as lunch boxes for tots and there’s a picnic area if the sun’s shining. After snack time we let the babies off into the playground to splash in the muddy puddles.
The facilities at Easter Anguston are excellent but the most remarkable thing is it’s free. You can make a donation when you visit so please do as it’s a pretty special charity in this area assisting pensioners, supporting people with learning difficulties, helping adults learn parenting skills and running a nursery where children with additional needs play alongside mainstream peers. To use Scotland’s land to educate and entertain staff as well as its tiny guests is a good reason to head out into the countryside this weekend.
Opening Times – Monday to Sunday – 10.00am–4.00pm
And of course if you know of any farms now welcoming children, as day trips or farm stays etc., please shout out your recommendations in the comments.
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