Thousands learn about life on Suffolk and Essex farms

Heath Farm in Hessett - Open Farm Sunday. Grace Davies (9) and Katie Mitcham-Henry with Benny the sh

Heath Farm in Hessett - Open Farm Sunday. Grace Davies (9) and Katie Mitcham-Henry with Benny the sheep. - Credit: Archant

Farms across the region opened their gates to the public today, with thousands of families enjoying the sun and learning about agriculture on Open Farm Sunday.

The open farm initiative is aimed at educating people and children about agriculture and where their food comes from.

From trailer rides behind tractors to visiting farmyard animals, each farm had something different to offer.

Thousands of people turned up at Kenton Hall, near Debenham, which laid on a farmers’ market as part of the day.

Emily McVeigh, who helps run her family’s farm, said: “It has been a brilliant success. We have had thousands of people turn up.

“This is the first time we have taken part in Open Farm Sunday, and it has been fantastic. Loads of families and children have turned up, which is great because they get to learn about agriculture and farming, which is what the initiative is all about.

“We have had tractor trailer rides, donkey rides, an outside tea room, there is loads to do which is probably why so many people have come here. The weather has been brilliant.”

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Heath Farm in Hessett, near Bury St Edmunds, also joined the national open day scheme, with the tractor rides around the site and a farm shop and children’s activities on the village green.

The mixed-livestock farm has taken part in the open farm scheme for several years.

Open Farm Sunday is a national event which yesterday marked its 10th year. The scheme is run by Linking Environment and Farming (LEaF) and has surged in popularity every year.

More than 1,000 farmers across the UK open their gates for the day in a bid to raise awareness and educate people about farming and the food chain. Taking part in Colchester was Fiveways Fruit Farm, which held tractor trailer rides and other fun activities for children.

Managing partner Julian Mead said: “It has been good. The weather has been great and a fair few people have come through.

“We had about the same as last year and a steady flow of people have come through.”