Reviewed by Melody Floyde
I visited the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm during the school holidays with my mum and my two sons (aged 3 and 7).
We travelled from Exeter and it took us about 30 minutes to get there via the A38. It was fairly straightforward to find although I think we only spotted one brown sign for the farm itself. As the Rare Breeds Farm doesn’t have its own car park, we parked in the Totnes Station Car Park in an area marked out as parking for the Rare Breeds Farm, however I was pretty shocked to find we had to pay £6.10 for 24 hours parking, there was no option to pay less and no option to get any of the parking fee refunded. There may have been other cheaper car parks in the area but we didn’t see any!
The Rare Breeds Farm was located a short stroll from the car park, along a path besides the river and railway. It is situated right next to the South Devon Railway and this is where the toilet facilities are located, luckily we paid a visit before getting to the Rare Breeds Farm as there are none at the farm itself.
On arriving at the Rare Breeds Farm we were greeted and given wristbands to wear for the adults and stickers for the children which meant we could come and go as we liked during the day. We also purchased some animal food at 50p a bag which could be used to feed most of the animals.
Straight after leaving the ticket office we came to the owls, which the boys were excited by. There were owls of all shapes and sizes and even a tiny one which was very tame and we were able to stroke. It looked like there was a man who talked about the owls at some points during the day but he wasn’t there when we were!
After leaving the owls we wandered around the rest of the farm. There were plenty of animals outside for us to stroke and feed – sheep, goats, alpacas, chickens, turkeys to name a few. The pygmy goats in particular were very cute. It was nice that we were able to go right into their enclosures and get really close to them. There were also some animals that we couldn’t feed or go into their enclosures like the miniature donkeys and pigs but they were still nice to see. The enclosures were all very well kept and well signposted to tell us which animals were in them and if we could feed them or not. As some of the animals had a special diet our animal feed would have made them poorly so it was good that this was very clear. There were also lots of reminders for us to wash our hands after handling the animals and also hand gel situated at various locations around the farm, as well as a hand washing area with sinks, soap and hand towels.
As well as the outside animal enclosures there was an undercover area where the boys were able to sit down and hold a guinea pig each which they both enjoyed. We had Suzie and Rapunzel!
There was also a building with some more animals inside which we were able to go and see. These were smaller animals such as chicks, a corn snake, hedgehogs (although we didn’t actually see these!) and some very very cute harvest mice which were my favourite!
We also saw further enclosures with red squirrels and various birds etc. which were nice to see. There was also a very short woodland walk, which was basically a short shady path along the back of the enclosures. This was nice to get out of the sun for a few minutes.
Before leaving we paid a visit to the Woodland Café for tea and scones which were reasonably priced and the scones were delicious. It looked like they served quite a few lunch options as well and from what I could see it all looked very tasty and reasonably priced. There was also a picnic area available if you wanted to take your own food with you.
Overall, we had an enjoyable morning at the Rare Breeds Farm. I was impressed at how well it was maintained and there was lots of information on the animals and I liked the fact that it was very clearly signposted that we needed to wash our hands after handling the animals and there were plenty of handwashing facilities available. The staff all seemed very friendly too. It is a lovely place to visit for young children. I think my 7-year-old is probably at the upper age limit now but he loved feeding all the animals and spent ages in the enclosures.
However, the farm was a lot smaller than we had anticipated so we probably only spent a couple of hours there which I didn’t feel was good value for money at £24.00 for a family ticket plus £6.10 parking fee. I also felt that the lack of toilet facilities on-site was a drawback with so many small children visiting. We made several trips to the toilet across the railway line which sometimes took a while as we had to wait for the train to pass through before we could cross the tracks.
If we were to go again, I think we would combine our trip with a visit to the other attractions nearby such as the steam railway (which I understand they sell joint tickets for) and make a whole day of it.
Tickets cost £7.50 (adults) / £6 (child) / £24 (family)
For more information visit www.totnesrarebreeds.co.uk.
Totnes Rare Breeds Farm, Littlehempston, Totnes, TQ9 6LZ | 01803 840387