Home   News   Article

Coronavirus: Rutland Farm Park in Oakham sets out its plans for survival while Sacrewell Farm pledges to post online updates about the animals during its closure

Farm owners are offering families the chance to book private access to their parkland in a bid to save their business.

From this weekend Rutland Farm Park will offer one-hour slots for families to visit the 19-acre site in Oakham.

It comes after non-essential businesses were forced to close to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Rutland Farm Park
Rutland Farm Park

The farm was already facing financial hardship following the death of its owner Daphne Ball in December. Her assets are tied up in probate and her family were forced to sell off some of the animals to make ends meet.

Julie Ball, who runs the farm with her husband Clive and daughter Amy, said: "Ever since we opened we have faced one challenge after another - a cold winter when no one came, a hot summer, losing Daphne and now coronavirus.

"It's like swimming the Channel when the tide keeps pushing you back.

Rutland Farm Park owners Clive, Julie and Amy Ball
Rutland Farm Park owners Clive, Julie and Amy Ball

"We hope the private access will give people something to look forward to and allow them to enjoy the fresh air."

Entry will be £12 and people are not allowed to feed the animals. All booking and payment will be done online to cut out social contact.

To book visit www.rutlandfarmpark.co.uk

The natural playground at Sacrewell Farm
The natural playground at Sacrewell Farm

At Sacrewell Farm in Thornaugh, livestock workers are continuing to care for the animals while managers look at ways to secure the future.

Customers with annual or spring/summer passes will have extra time added when the farm reopens.

Visitor operations manager Jack Pishorn said: “We closed to the public on Friday which was a difficult decision because spring is a prime time for visitors to the farm with our lambing and Easter egg hunt.

“This has come at the worst time of year for us but we’ve been overwhelmed by the public support.

“At a time when we expected people to be calling up for refunds, many have been asking if they can rebook parties or have told us to keep their deposits as a donation. We’ve also had people asking how they can help us through this time.”

Like many businesses, the trust is looking closely at what level of government support might be available to help it through the coming months.

In the meantime the livestock staff are as busy as ever looking after the animal and managing the upkeep of the farm.

Jack said: “The work doesn’t stop even though the visitors have.

“We will be keeping up to date with the government advice and look forward to opening as soon as it is safe.

"Until then we will be using social media for educational offerings and keeping people informed of what is happening on the farm."

Exotic Pet Refuge needs help to survive.

More by this author

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More