Students down on the farm at Cotswold Farm Park

On the 15th March, the Biosciences students were loaded onto a coach, and made our way to Cotswold Farm Park. Founded by Joe Henson, this working farm and educational park was established in the 1970s, and is currently in the hands of his son, Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, and Henson’s business partner, Duncan Andrews.

As we left, the sun was shining. However, because it’s March, it was also raining. Nevertheless, everyone was in high spirits as we made our way through the gently rolling hills of the Cotswolds countryside. We arrived in good time, and were pleasantly surprised by how much less muddy it was than we anticipated. The visit began with an introductory talk by Rik and staff member Beth. We were then given time to explore.

At 1:30pm, we sat down to a presentation on the history and purpose of the farm park, including a history of the founder, Joe Henson. We were told how the farm houses some rare livestock breeds, including the Norfolk Horn sheep. Thanks to Joe Henson’s efforts, many at-risk breeds have been restored to safe population numbers, and brought back from obscurity. After the talk, we wandered the barns, and some of us opted for a ‘farm safari’ tour in a tractor trailer, where we were given a commentary of the uses of various pastures and barns. We then moved into the discovery barn, where there were various animals we could interact with, such as lambs, chicks, piglets, and rabbits. Once we’d had our fill of petting the animals (for the time being at least), we moved into the animal barn, where many sheep and goats were in the process of lambing and kidding. We did not manage to witness any births, but we were treated to a surprise appearance by Adam Henson himself, who kindly stopped to speak with us and to answer our questions (and take photos!).

As time to depart approached, we made our final stop of the day – to bottle-feed some of the more developed lambs. It was a raucous and rewarding fifteen minutes – the lambs didn’t hang about finding a bottle to drink from!

Getting back on the coach, we wasted no time uploading photos and videos of the experience. You can find them on Instagram, using the hashtag #uglosbioscience.
Ellie Knight-Rolfe. 1st Year BSc (Hons) Animal Biology

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