Derbyshire family attraction excited to reopen

Staff at a Peak District farm attraction say they cannot wait to welcome visitors once again after a “tough year”.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 1:14 pm

Matlock Farm Park is aiming to reopen its outdoor areas to visitors on April 12.

Lotty Hawkins, park assistant manager, said: “We are delighted to be opening on April 12, pending the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown going as planned. We can’t wait to open our doors again.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed his path out of lockdown, providing a series of tests are met, such as falling coronavirus rates.

The phased reopening of the country includes a number of key dates, with the Government saying that, provisionally from April 12, “most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos and theme parks, will reopen, although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households”.

For Matlock Farm Park, of Jaggers Lane, near Darley Moor, it means keeping its café and indoor play centre closed, while the outdoor areas are open.

Lotty said: “We now look forward to reopening and the coming weeks will be busy ensuring we have a Covid-safe venue which gives visitors a great day out.

“We hope to be offering small animal handling, wallaby encounters, meerkat feeding and hopefully we’ll be able to do our lamb bottle-feeding sessions.”

Matlock Farm Park is aiming to reopen on April 12. Volunteer Aaron Hughes is pictured with three-day-old Suffolk-cross Highland lambs.

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Our animals have missed the visitors

She admitted it had been a difficult time since coronavirus struck and various lockdown restrictions were imposed, with many family attractions forced to close for long periods.

Lotty said: “Like for so many people and small businesses, it has been a tough year, particularly as we have had ongoing high animal care costs to meet while being closed for so many months without any visitor income.

Lotty Hawkins, Matlock Farm Park assistant manager.

“We were fortunate enough to be open from summer to Christmas, thank goodness, and it was lovely to welcome visitors to interact with our animals.

“Since the new year, we have had a dedicated a small team of volunteers coming to look after the animals daily, which with so much snow in our pretty remote area hasn’t always been easy – one member of staff having to feed our horses and Highland cattle in snow storms has been a particular challenge.

“Our friendly animals such as wallabies, Shetland ponies and goats have really missed their interaction with the public, who they have always been used to seeing every day. When we reopened in the summer, they couldn’t wait to race over to the visitors to be hand-fed and petted.

“With people unable to visit, we’ve gone for the mantra ‘bringing the farm to you’, by providing lots of photos, videos and news through our social media platforms.”

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