Welcome to the Fiddy Working Heritage Farm. This open-air museum gives you the experience of agriculture and rural life in the English countryside at the end of the nineteenth century. So you’ll see a typical farm of that period, and like me, all the staff are dressed in clothes of that time.
I must give you some advice and safety tips before we go any further. As it’s a working farm, please don’t frighten or injure the animals. We have a lot here, and many of them are breeds that are now quite rare.
And do stay at a safe distance from the tools: some of them have sharp points which can be pretty dangerous, so please don’t touch them. We don’t want any accidents, do we?
The ground is very uneven, and you might slip if you’re wearing sandals so I’m glad to see you’re all wearing shoes – we always advise people to do that. Now, children of all ages are very welcome here, and usually even very young children love the ducks and lambs, so do bring them along next time you come.
I don’t think any of you have brought dogs with you, but in case you have, I’m afraid they’ll have to stay in the car park unless they’re guide dogs. I’m sure you’ll understand that they could cause a lot of problems on a farm.
Now let me give you some idea of the layout of the farm. The building where you bought your tickets is the New Barn, immediately to your right, and we’re now at the beginning of the main path to the farmland – and of course the car park is on your left.
The scarecrow you can see in the car park in the corner, beside the main path, is a traditional figure for keeping the birds away from crops, but our scarecrow is a permanent sculpture. It’s taller than a human being, so you can see it from quite a distance.
If you look ahead of you, you’ll see a maze. It’s opposite the New Barn, beside the side path that branches off to the right just over there. The maze is made out of hedges which are too tall for young children to see over them, but it’s quite small, so you can’t get lost in it!
Now, can you see the bridge crossing the fish pool further up the main path? If you want to go to the café, go towards the bridge and turn right just before it. Walk along the side path and the café’s on the first bend you come to. The building was originally the schoolhouse, and it’s well over a hundred years old.
As you may know, we run skills workshops here, where you can learn traditional crafts like woodwork and basket-making. You can see examples of the work, and talk to someone about the courses, in the Black Barn. If you take the side path to the right, here, just by the New Barn, you’ll come to the Black Barn just where the path first bends.
Now I mustn’t forget to tell you about picnicking, as I can see some of you have brought your lunch with you. You can picnic in the field, though do clear up behind you, of course. Or if you’d prefer a covered picnic area, there’s one near the farmyard: just after you cross the bridge, there’s a covered picnic spot on the right.
And the last thing to mention is Fiddy House itself. From here you can cross the bridge then walk along the footpath through the field to the left of the farmyard. That goes to the house, and it’ll give you a lovely view of it. It’s certainly worth a few photographs, but as it’s a private home, I’m afraid you can’t go inside. Right. Well, if you’re all ready, we’ll set off on our tour of the farm.