Fun with the animals this half term

Sheep welfare will be examined in the new Eblex initiative.
Sheep welfare will be examined in the new Eblex initiative.

A range of fun activities and events are set to be held throughout half term week at Temple Newsam estate and farm.

The fun begins today as local craftspeople will be displaying and selling a variety of their wares until Monday 26 May as part of a Phoenix Crafts event in the Stable Courtyard, while kids can try their hand at making their own creations with a felt-maker down in the farm.

Tomorrow, Sunday May 25, a calligrapher will be available to keep the youngsters entertained, and in what is always a great occasion, Home Farm which is based on the Temple Newsam estate, is all set to host its 10th annual Rare Breeds open day.

Including sheep from the York Rare Breeds support group, a beautiful Dartmoor pony and some feisty geese and their goslings, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the work which is done to support the preservation of rare breeds. This month Home Farm welcomed a new male donkey foal to its numbers, and not only can visitors see how he is progressing, they can also submit their suggestions for a name before the competition closes at the end of May. For the green fingered, both young and old, the Walled Garden on Monday May 26 will be holding a unique sale of plants from the National Collection of Aster Novi Belgi (Michaelmas Daisies) from 11am-2pm. The collection is being moved onto the famous herbaceous borders of the Walled Gardens, which has meant some stocks of named varieties have been released. Visitors are invited to come armed with a carrier bag and trowel, and a gardener will also be available to offer both information and advice.

Vegetable growing is also set to make a comeback in the Walled Garden after a 100 year absence, and on Wednesday 28 May, youngsters can pop down to plant a pumpkin to take home or grow for Halloween. Vegetables will be available for planting on the day to grow in the garden. Once grown, they will be sold on site from the Tea Room and Mrs Pawson’s shop.

The shop which is a big hit with visitors, sells an amazing array of local produce including jams, pickles beer, bread and as part of English Wine Week, a bottle of Leventhrope Vinyard from one of Home Farm’s closest neighbours can also be purchased.

If the weather is fine, two barbeques offering fresh local produce from the farm will also be held on Sunday and Thursday May 29.

Coun Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for the environment said: “With half term coming up, the Temple Newsam estate really is the perfect place to keep all the family entertained.

“We have put together a varied programme of events and activities, and if this is not enough, Home Farm will also be hosting its annual Rare Breeds open day, which celebrating its 10th birthday, is always a great occasion.”