Field to Fork - Tatton Park’s petting zoo is also educational
PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:13 14 April 2020
Tatton Park has opened a petting zoo with a difference: visitors see animals on the farm and then visit the abbatoir
A £1.3million new project which makes no bones about the more unpleasant aspects of the farm to fork process is being launched this month at Tatton Park. The new visitor attraction at the Knutsford country estate aims to inspire young and old, by telling the story of the journey of our food from start to finish.
It will bring to life Tatton’s heritage – the old buildings and machinery, the people who lived and worked there, the farming practices and animals reared over hundreds of years - showing how farming can help improve our lives today and in the future.
A celebration of the Park’s rich agricultural heritage, Field to Fork has undergone a ‘soft launch’ phase to allow staff to evaluate visitors’ feedback, and will officially open to the public on July 5th. Featuring real life characters leading guided tours, an augmented reality app, interactive models and demonstrations, the project will see many previously closed buildings – such as the Mill and Slaughterhouse – restored and open to the public for the first time in over 30 years.
The slaughterhouse will sensitively present the realities of meat production, so that visitors understand the variety of joints and cuts available, as well as the importance of good animal husbandry.
Visitors will be able to take part in traditional agricultural skills such as horse ploughing, cheese-making and beekeeping and learn about the history and care of all the fascinating rare breed animals.
The newly opened three-storey Mill will house a number of original machines from past centuries including the steam engine, winnower, hammer mill and chaff cutter. Visitors will also be able to go on a guided tour with the miller and watch the intriguing machines at work.
Carole Mullineux, Business Development Manager at Tatton Park, said: ‘Field to Fork is a ground breaking project – there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else.
‘We’ll be telling the story of Cheshire’s farming heritage and comparing it to what we do now and will do in the future. We’ll be showing how working conditions, farming and food production practices have shifted through time to inspire visitors to think about where the food we eat today comes from.’
Meet land girl Nancy Pringle, who will be played by a volunteer as part of Tatton Farm’s field to fork story.
The project has been made possible by support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the WREN FCC Community Action Fund, the Tatton Park Charitable Trust, Cheshire East Council and the National Trust.
The historic estate has around 800,000 visitors every year, all coming to enjoy its Georgian Mansion, Medieval Old Hall, award-winning gardens and working farm. The 1,000-acre deer park is home to red and fallow deer and the estate boasts speciality shops, an adventure playground, restaurants and a year-round events programme.
For more information, visit www.tattonpark.org.uk.