Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE farms and despite the fact that we live in a farm worker’s house on the edge of a (now derelict) farm and have a collection of animals myself, I jump at the chance to go to farms and see the animals. Having Pookie is the perfect excuse to do it!
Yesterday we visited a local farm is only just heard of. Bill Quay community Farm is set on the banks of (the wrong side of) the Tyne in Gateshead and houses a range of animals from fancy mice to Shetland Ponies. Interestingly the livestock on the farm are all rare breed and indigenous species and the farm is Rate Breeds Survival Trust approved. It was therefore lovely to see that they are successfully breeding their three breeds of sheep, endangered Bagot goats and two breeds of pigs.
The farm itself is relatively small with an enclosed barn area which opens at midday where you can find the small mammals and various pens of animals including some adorable sleeping piglets. I believe they also do a range of activities and crafts in there too.
Outside there is more to see. We had a quick walk around with Pookie on my back to get our bearings and then spent quite a while toddling about the well maintained bark paths between fields of sheep and brand new lambs, ponies, mischievous piglets and pens of chickens and geese. We didn’t look at the map until we were leaving but there were a few walks marked on the map that could easily make a quick visit like ours into a couple of hours exploring a playing. Our visit was nicely finished off with a cup of tea outside at the wheelchair and high chair friendly picnic tables.
Things we really liked:
- The farm is well signposted and easy to find using the postcode on their website
- They have a good variety of animals to see living in clean and well managed pens and fields linked by well maintained bark paths
- A National Cycle route runs through the farm providing an alternative way to visit. Sustrans have several routes to try!
Things that could’ve been better:
- I would have liked to have seen more information points around the farm explaining what the animals were and more information about the work the farm is doing with Rare Breed animals (but that might just be my thirst for knowledge talking!)
We’d thoroughly recommend a visit to Bill Quay Communuty Farm, and the amazing thing is…it’s FREE! We of course left a donation in the pig’s snout as we’d enjoyed our visit and would encourage you to do the same. I think we discovered a true hidden gem!