I am quite lucky to be working at an internship where I am able to meet so many amazing people and travel to some new places I haven’t visited before. Recently we went to Tatton Park in Manchester. I am a great lover of National Trust sites, so inevitably I was excited when I found out where we were going.
It was different to what I expected (from what I know of other National Trust sites!) but brilliant all the same. There were three main attractions, the farm, the mansion and the gardens. It’s no surprise that the gardens were my favourite! The mansion was beautiful but for this post I will be focusing on the more nature related aspects of the farm and gardens.
There was a wide variety of gardens within the site. We must’ve spend a good couple of hours wondering around. My personal favourite was the Japanese Garden. It was the perfect combination of wild whilst still being immaculately kept. If you closed your eyes you would forget that you were in one of the largest and busiest cities in the UK. It was so incredibly peaceful, I would have happily stayed there all by myself all evening.
Other beautiful gardens included the rose garden, full of colour, a beautiful water feature and pristine hedges. The kitchen garden contained such a huge variety of fruit and vegetables. All of this produce is used within the parks catering facilities for visitors. A few such items included squashes, tomatoes, herbs, apples, cherries and asparagus. I was surprised at how many of the different crops I recognised from their leaves/flowers (thanks for teaching me dad!).
The farm was an interesting one. I always think farms like this one are a great way of showing children where their food comes from and how products such as milk are produced. I personally feel it is very important that children understand that food items such as dairy, eggs and meat do not just come “from the supermarket!
The farm at Tatton Park has a rare breeds programme which is accredited by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST). It is brilliant as an initiative to encourage the survival of rare heritage breeds such as Shire Horses, Golden Guernsey Goats and Tamworth Pigs. As always it was great to see the more unusual breeds being represented, educating children and adults alike about the huge diversity of animals that can be farmed in the UK. Showing people the heritage breeds can lead onto conversations about selective breeding and the selection of traits for specific purposes, e.g. milk volume or meat flavour. This helps people to understand more about modern farming and in turn become more education about food production, in order to make their own dietary choices.
Although I think that it is important to educate people about agriculture, it did feel like some of the animals were a bit distressed. For example, the reindeer paced back and forth in their pen the whole time I was there displaying a number of anxious traits. I am not sure if this is normal for them or if they had been provoked into displaying anxious behaviour by members of the public. I spoke to a member of staff to enquire about their well-being and when they are allowed outdoors. The staff member assured me that it is only during visiting hours they are kept indoors in order to educate people about different breeds. Outside of visiting hours they are allowed out onto pasture outside of the small pens.
As with so many things, the farm is a delicate balance. Overall I was happy to see the partnership between Tatton Park and the RBST.
My trip to Tatton Park was brilliant and I am so fortunate to have been exploring the local area due to my job! Have you been out in nature lately?