Sheffield Manor Lodge forced to close its attraction Mr Barnes' Farm permanently

Sheffield historic landmark Manor Lodge has been forced to permanently close one of its attractions because of the coronavirus crisis.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 3:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 2:38 pm

The heritage attraction announced: “It is with heavy hearts that Sheffield Manor Lodge are having to close Mr Barnes’ farm and the 1940s cottage.

“Countless businesses are being affected by the coronavirus epidemic and for the farm, no visitors over the doorstep means they are not able to look after animals in the way they need.

“This has been a hard and difficult decision and one which they are incredibly sad to have to make.

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Tractor driving fun at Mr Barnes' Farm

“Due to concern for the animals’ welfare should our farm team become unwell or have to self-isolate, they have taken the decision to move the animals to safer places where they will receive the care they need.

“The animals have gone to good homes with staff and volunteers and at animal sanctuaries and visitors will be able to see the goats and ducks at another local farm in the future.

“We can’t reveal where quite yet but will let visitors know as soon as they can.”

The farm represented a key part of the 20th-century history of the Tudor hunting lodge, which is famous for being the house where Mary, Queen of Scots was held captive for nearly 20 years before her execution for treason in 1587.

Animal handling at Mr Barnes' Farm, Manor Lodge

Mary’s captors were George Talbot, Sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, and his famous wife, Bess of Hardwick.

The farm and 1940s cottages told the story of the site during the war years, when the hunting lodge and turret house had long fallen into ruins.

Regular weekend 1940s events that were popular with visitors featured characters from the life of the farm and many aspects of the wartime home front.

A young visitor to the farm at Manor Lodge playing in the straw

Joss Presdee, farm officer at Manor Lodge, said: “We want to say a huge thank you to staff and volunteers who have worked so hard on making the farm a fantastic place, well loved by so many and to all our visitors to supporting us.”

Manor Lodge will be opening their Tudor grounds as soon as it is safe to do so.

Attractions on the site include the Tudor buildings and Discovery Centre, the surrounding gardens and meadows and the Rhubarb Shed Cafe.

Manor Lodge had been due to reopen on Sundays from April and is usually also open to visitors during the school holidays.

Caramel the guinea pig is one of the animals that has had to be rehomed

Creswell Crags, which tells the story of Neanderthal and prehistoric Britain in its famous caves, is also under threat of permanent closure because of funding difficulties caused by the virus.

The charitable trust which runs the site near Worksop was about to face the difficult crossover to becoming an independently-funded attraction this year.