I love watching Countryfile. I like seeing all the different areas of Great Britain, places I have been to and places I dream of going to in the future. I like seeing rural crafts and hearing the debates about countryside issues – house building and lack of rural housing, badger culling, bovine TB, preservation of wildlife habitats etc. I enjoy watching Adam Henson because the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) has long been one of my interests (Tea Towel Blog for the future). Adam Henson’s father, Joe who has recently died, was one of the founding members of RBST in 1973. Since the RBST was founded, no UK-native breed has become extinct; this is an amazing record. In 1971, Joe Henson opened the Cotswold Farm Park as a place where he could breed some of the breeds in danger of extinction and opened this to the public.
One Saturday, in 2013, when I had nothing else planned I was inspired to visit Cotswold Farm Park. I had a really great day out. Cotswold Farm Park offers a huge range of things to do and see for both adults and children, never mind the weather. Because there are more than 50 herds of different animals, the farm covers a large area; one of the great ideas is a tractor ride round the whole of the farm enabling you to see all the animals. The ride is covered which is good if there is inclement weather. There is the chance to see chickens and ducks at all stages of development from egg to hatching, to little tiny balls of fluff to baby chicks. There is an opportunity to hold them. Depending on the time of the year, there are demonstrations of things like sheep shearing. There is a great cafe with food produced from the farm and foods to buy to take home. The shop of course sells this tea towel, which made it an even better day out.
But Cotswold Farm Park is more than just a good day out; it is a place to learn and understand about the issues around farming – the importance of not losing native breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and chickens and how each breed brings different tastes and qualities. For me, the Gloucester Old Spot stands alone as the finest sausage and I can tell the difference from, for example, a Lincolnshire sausage. Retaining diversity is so important. Following the recent death of Joe Henson, Cotswold Farm Park is a true legacy of the work of one man’s passion that inspired so many others. Cotswold Farm Park is certainly somewhere I would want to return to at different times of the year.
Click below to return to the Virtual Tea Towel Museum