William Scott Abbott Trust celebrates 50 successful years at Sacrewell Farm

Sacrewell Farm and County Centre at Thornhaugh
Sacrewell Farm and County Centre at Thornhaugh
Have your say

A trust which aims to educate people about agriculture is celebrating 50 successful years.

The William Scott Abbott Trust was set up at Sacrewell Farm, near Wansford, in 1964 by Mary, the widow of William. The trust, which owns and manages the farm, was set up to teach people about agriculture, food and farming by giving them hands on experience.

Although the couple would not recognise parts of the farm as it stands today, the educational values they were so desperate to achieve are still very much alive.

Marketing and communications officer at the trust Megan Horner said: “William and Mary had no children and their views on farming were thought to be very radical at the time! William had a background in engineering and spent some time in America where he learned about the farming methods they used and brought them back to the UK. People would come to the farm to watch and observe the farmers as they worked.”

In 1958, the year before his death, William wrote: “I have always had in mind the creation of a sound, practical, enterprise, preserving what is best in our country way of life, and based on sound, practical farming, as all country life must be.”

In 1982, William’s nephew David Powell, who was managing the farm at the time, made the decision to create a visitor centre at Sacrewell. It was the first step in creating the farm centre at it is known today.

The farm land was leased to other companies so the trust could focus on running the centre and creating an educational facility. Riverford Organic currently leases the land and works with the trust to provide tours, so visitors know what is growing.

The farm currently welcomes about 8,000 schoolchildren each year who come to see the animals and learn about farming.

To mark the milestone anniversary and the beginning of the £1.7m watermill project, which aims to restore the 18th century watermill, the farm is being rebranded as Sacrewell Farm and Watermill. The trust is also investing more than £100,000 in upgrading its activity barn and its small animal village so there is even more for families to do.

In this year’s programme of events at the farm, there will be a spring fair on May 4 and 5 to celebrate the anniversary.