Watergate Farm is located in Hockliffe, rural Bedfordshire and is a traditional family farm. It has been run by several generations of the Hunt family since it was first established 90 years ago in 1924 and rears mainly sheep and turkeys on it's land. The farm, it's owners and workers, are very keen on conservation and implement a rolling program of tree planting as well as encouraging and caring for any wildlife that may have found a home on it's land.
The price of £4 per adult and £3 per child was a very reasonable entrance fee for what was on offer, which included seeing the sheep, lambs, calves, pigs, chicks and other farm animals, holding/stroking a lamb, sheep shearing and wool spinning, tractor and trailer rides around the farm, a bouncy castle, a picnic area with BBQ and refreshments, some small stalls selling various items, including a 'paint your own' area for the kids, the chance to sit in a tractor and some lovely farmland to enjoy and explore a little.
It was quite busy there due to the Bank Holiday, but there was plenty of space to park and lots to see so, although there was a bit of a queue for the toilets and the BBQ, it wasn't too busy and you could move around the farm easily and visit all of the animals without feeling crowded in and like you were fighting to see things.
First up on the agenda, and the main reason we decided to visit, was having a look at the sheep and their lambs. The children (and us) loved watching the baby lambs frolicking around and cuddling up with their mummies. They were very cute.
After having a good look around outside, enjoying the lovely sunshine, we made our way into the main farm building where there were lots more sheep with their lambs along with some chicks and incubating eggs, calves and pigs. There was an opportunity to hold and stroke a lamb but it was, unfortunately, far too busy for us to have a go this time. We did get a chance to watch some sheep shearing and wool spinning though!
After we'd had a look around at most of the animals it was fast approaching lunchtime and the kids were starting to make noises about being hungry and wanting a drink. We washed our hands and there were quite a few places to do so which impressed me; a few other farms we've visited didn't have the greatest facilities and it was good not to have to queue for ages just to give our hands a wash. We found a nice spot in the picnic area and enjoyed our lunch. Afterwards we ventured into another farm building to have a look at the various stalls and the children found a small toy each, which they were very happy with.
We discovered a bouncy castle hidden within another building and the kids had a good jump around for a while. Our eldest was then insistent on visiting the chicks again. I think they were, by far, her favourite baby animals on the farm. I couldn't turn down looking at all the adorable lambs for a second time so we made our way back to the building where the majority of the animals were being kept and had another look around.
After we left the farm building, and another hand wash, the weather was getting quite a bit cloudier and windier and the children were starting to get a bit tired. There were tractor and trailer rides around the farm but we decided to give it a miss this time as our littles seemed to be feeling rather cold and tired. I'm sure they would have enjoyed it though..maybe we will come back on a slightly warmer day and take a ride. It took us around 2-3 hours to make our way around the land and try out the majority of the activities; I reckon we could have been there for another hour or so on a slightly warmer day though.
There is still time to visit the farm's lambing weekend! It is running over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend from 10.30-4.00, with the last day of the event being Monday April 21st. I highly recommend visiting the farm. It's in a beautiful location with lots of adorable baby animals, activities for the children, reasonable facilities and good admission prices. It is a great opportunity to veer away from the more commercial (and expensive) farm days and visit a proper working farm and it's inhabitants.