When the model farmyard at Chatsworth opened it was a pioneering way for youngsters to learn where food really came from, writes Ellen Beardmore.
Forty years later it is still delighting visitors – but it’s between 180,000 and 200,000 of them a year rather than the odd school trip.
The farmyard marked its 40th anniversary yesterday and was the brainchild of the Dowager Duchess, who wanted a model farm to teach children about food, animals and agriculture.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our special video report by Peter McNerney.
Duke of Devonshire Peregrine Cavendish said: “You can see from all the happy, smiling children here every day what a success the farmyard has been and it’s a real tribute to my mother.
“She believed so passionately people should be educated about food and agriculture, she had the vision and determination to reclaim and rebuild on derelict land to create a model farm. It was one of the very first such places in the country and I think it has played a hugely significant role in inspiring others to do something similar. That can only be a good thing for future generations.”
The farmyard opened on the site of a derelict building yard on July 26, 1973, with borrowed cattle and sheep from farms on the estate.
Crowds turned out yesterday to the farmyard, which now has an adventure playground and a guinea pig village, to mark the anniversary with games and a new exhibition of archive pictures.