Filming with Animals
We are happy to supply animals for commercial photography, TV & film.Find Out More
Our seasonal demonstrations change throughout the farming year. Check this year's dates to see what's on and when.Learn More
Rare Breeds: A History
There are three main reasons why we should preserve types or strains of domestic animal that are not needed by modern agriculture.
Between 1900 and 1973 twenty-six native breeds of farm animal became extinct in Britain.
Fortunately in the 1960’s a small group of pioneers launched a crusade to prevent further loses. In 1973, their vision became the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) – an organisation dedicated to the conservation of Britain’s livestock heritage. Joe Henson was Founder Chairman of the RBST, which is now a thriving organisation with over 10,000 members and has his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales as its Patron.
The organisation keep an annual Watchlist, which categorises the animal breeds based on their species and the total number of registered breeding females in the UK. This helps to highlight changes in breed population trends.
|Cattle have been farmed in the UK since the first farmers settled over 6,000 years ago. Initially, they were a dual purpose animal, but in recent years, cattle have become specialised and farmers have concentrated on either the supply of beef or milk. A sample of each of our cattle breeds is normally on display at the Farm Park on any one day. All the cattle leave the Farm Park site each night to go onto large grazing fields and are waiting to come back into work each morning!|
|Goats are an ancient part of the British farming scene, however during the late 19th and early 20th century many goats were imported and as a result our native goat was almost eliminated. The imported goats were mainly dairy breeds, but they cannot tolerate the British climate and need to be housed. In many parts of the world goats digest herbs and shrubs not palatable to other farm animals and are a vital source of meat, milk, fibre and natural fertiliser.|
|In pre-historic times domestic swine were herded through the forest, often mating with wild boars. Our native stock was gradually improved by importing more prolific and productive strains from the Far East. Over the years local breeds became fixed, each with their own particular merits, but since the Second World War demand for a standard bacon carcase has produced long, lean hybrid breeds from a limited number of specialist strains. The large breeds, which tended to lay on surplus fat were no longer wanted.|
|We have over 40 different breeds of sheep in the UK each suited to different regions and types of production – this is called stratification. Particular breeds occupy specific environments to which they have become adapted; the hills, uplands or lowlands.|
Horses & Ponies
|The big and powerful Clydesdale and Suffolk Punch breeds used to plough our fields, whilst the little Welsh Mountain pony was perfect on postal routes or pulling carts down the coal mines. Horses and ponies played a huge part in British working life. Over the last century, industries have been transformed and very few equines are now used.|