Information on Hadleigh and Hadleigh Castle Essex
Hadleigh Farm, overlooked by the nearby historical Hadleigh Castle, is a 900-acre farm which was acquired in 1891 by General Booth as part of a his plan to rescue those facing or coping with destitution in London. The Salvation Army have owned and operated the farm for the past 100 years, and they run it today as an educational working farm; containing a Rare Breeds Centre, which opened in mid-2004 to promote the conservation of and education in rare breeds, and a tea room for visitors. As a mixed commercial farm its mission statement encompasses demonstrating conventional farming in addition to organic farming; with 600 acres dedicated to crops together with 300 acres of organic grassland and Hereford cattle.
Present on the farm are a wide variety of animals including, but not restricted to, Golden Guernsey and Bagot goats, Greyface Dartmoor and Leicester Longwool sheep, Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs and Exmoor ponies. Breeding of 4 types of chicken also occurs on the farm one of which, the Ixworth chicken, is classified as an endangered species. The others are Derbyshire red caps, Golden Brahmas and Scots Grey hens, which are kept in small groups. In addition, as small group of pure-bred Aylesbury ducks is kept.
Each member of staff at the farm is trained to Access to Farms standards, which means that children can learn and have fun in a safe environment at the farm. Furthermore, there are educational packs available for teachers which have been specially-tailored for them. Many events are also held during the course of any given calendar year also, featuring activities such as Easter egg hunts for the children, and liaisons with organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The Rare Breed Centre also offers activities in its own right, including rides on pedal tractors, a willow maze for kids to navigate, and a sandpit for them to play in.
As part of the upcoming Olympic Games in 2012, there has been a new mountain bike course commissioned and constructed at Hadleigh Farm. Temporary grandstands and other facilities are also to be assembled. Visitors to the course will be able to spectate along a course that runs through the surrounding parkland and woodland areas. All-in-all the site is ideal for a mountain biking course, as it offers fantastic hilly terrain coupled with easy viewing access for spectators. And all this set to the backdrop of the ruins of Hadleigh Castle too. Some more information about the Olympics themselves can be found on our Hadleigh Castle Olympics page.