Open Farm Sunday sees strong visitor numbers

Yesterday’s (June 13) Open Farm Sunday is poised to be one of the most successful in the event’s five year history, with scores of hosts reporting record numbers of visitors.

Most of the country woke up to blue skies which undoubtedly encouraged the public to venture outside and pay a visit to a local participating farm. Despite an unpredictable forecast the rain held off for most of the day which ensured the steady stream of visitors throughout the afternoon.

“It’ll be a few weeks before we have a clear picture of visitor numbers, but I’ve been inundated with phone calls from host farmers, and everyone is saying they received more visitors than they expected,” said Open Farm Sunday Manager Tom Allen-Stevens.

Open Farm Sunday 
Visitors to Scald End Farm, Befordshire enjoyed warm weather on Sunday.

“Many venues hit their predicted visitor numbers by lunchtime, and we’ve been hearing about queues around the block for some of the most popular activities like tractor and trailer rides,” he added.

Colin and Di Dawes’ 750-acre Foxbury Farm in Oxfordshire is just one example. The couple enlisted the help of local primary schools, Brownie packs, churches, charities, butchers and craftspeople for what turned out to be their biggest open day in years.

“In the past we used to open the farm during lambing, and on a good day we used to get 1800 visitors,” said Mrs Dawes. “Yesterday we saw in the region of 2700.”

Another success story came from Barn Farm near Hambledon in Hampshire. Lady Carol Musgrave, who owns the business with her husband Christopher, was worried about competition from the nearby Isle of Wight Festival, which was taking place on the same weekend. Her concerns proved to be completely unfounded when more than 500 people turned up to get a taste of life on the land.

You can see pictures of the day, or upload your own, on our dedicated Open Farm Sunday picture gallery. A spread of the best will appear in this week’s issue of Farmers Weekly, so the sooner you can get them to us, the more likely they will be to feature. Click here to add them.

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