Mary Arden's Farm, the 23 acre organic farm in Wilmcote surrounding the childhood home of William Shakespeare’s mother, has been awarded a special Rare Breeds Accreditation in recognition for its work with rare breed animals.
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), the leading conservation charity working to restore Britain’s native livestock breeds awarded the prestigious accreditation to Mary Arden’s Farm, which is cared for and operated by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. It is one of only 19 farm parks in the UK to have received the award which recognises their commitment to the conservation, breeding and promotion of rare or endangered breeds of farm animals.
Andrew Walker, Farm Manager at Mary Arden’s Farm, said: “The team are thrilled to receive this special accreditation. Our animals, many of which are similar in type to those Shakespeare and his family would have known, are kept at the highest possible standards of care and we are passionate about preserving rare breeds. By having them as part of our offer we help to propagate the species. We recently welcomed a rare Arapawa kid goat, new Oxford Sandy and Black pigs, and of course our resident Cotswold sheep and Brecon Buff geese continue to delight visitors.”
Tom Blunt, RBST Field Officer said: “The Rare Breeds Survival Trust aim to
secure the future of our rare and native breeds of farm livestock. Across the
United Kingdom we have a number of RBST approved farm parks. We are delighted
to announce that Mary Arden’s Farm fulfils the required criteria and has gained
approved status by focusing on the conservation of our rare and native breeds.”
The team of 32 staff and 15 volunteers focus on bringing to life the 16th century rural farm, with costumed Tudor period interpreters inviting visitors to get hands-on with rural crafts and traditional Tudor pastimes. The farm team interact with the rare-breed and traditional mix animals as part of the visitor experience, demonstrating firsthand how a Tudor farm was run. There are plenty of opportunities for fun, play, interaction and learning, including falconry displays, have-a-go archery and Tudor table manners and rituals. Activities and exhibitions appeal to all ages ensuring each visitor leaves with a better understanding of living history and working Tudor England.
Education is also at the heart of Mary Arden’s Farm. Many visitors from cities are removed from the land, the rhythms of the seasons and where food comes from. Staff are on hand to inform visitors, giving details about the different species, their history, always in the context of being a working Tudor farm. With an exciting programme of events and activities for all the family, there are plenty of picnic areas, alongside an adventure playground, nature trails and information on organic farming, providing hours of fun for our visitors young and old.