Tucked away down a country lane in Reddish, South Manchester is Reddish Vale Farm. The small animal farm is attached to a Riding School which also does birthday parties and whilst it doesn’t look like much when you pull up outside, it kept our gang of kids (ranging from 2 months to 6) happily entertained for quite a few hours.
When we arrived one Saturday afternoon about 2pm it was quite busy and we had to queue to get in. It didn’t cost too much to get in £4 for adults, £3 for children and Under 3’s are free; but the real stroke of genius for me, was that for 50p you could buy a bucket full to the brim with animal feed. Whilst my girls (and the animals) really didn’t need a bucket each, we are talking about threenagers so we duly purchased 3 buckets, so they could ‘all have their own’. At 50p a bucket it clearly didn’t matter too much and I was very grateful to the farm for that.
As we went into the farm, my three squealed with excitement. There were little animals all over the courtyard of the farm and all the children already there were feeding them. It isn’t a huge area but the animals all come to the fences to be fed and the little goat who was wandering around was really friendly and very happy to be fed by anyone with a bucket of feed. The size of the courtyard is also reassuring as the little ones could wander about with no fear of getting lost.
Aside from the pigs, cows, goats and sheep that were in the outside courtyard there was also smaller animals in the barns which could be held and stroked (a little too hard I thought!).
Once all the feed had been eaten or spilt the kids moved onto the playground and mini indoor soft play. The farm has the usual selection of drinks and cakes in its café and we used this as an opportunity to keep the kids going a bit longer so we could go for a walk down by the lake. In retrospect this wasn’t a great plan as whilst no-one fell in they certainly gave us cause for concern at times!
The downside for us what that it seemed to close quite early and they could do with more toilets as this was very nearly an issue with a just toilet trained toddler – there is only one of each, but overall it was a lovely afternoon out in the fresh air and a great place for the kids to run around.