The Milbourn family first came to Walby Grange in 1928; the fields then were ploughed with Clydesdale horses just like Mollie who you can meet in the Animal Barn! Our family farm lies in the Solway Basin, a mile from the River Eden and is built on top of the line of Hadrian’s Wall, a World Heritage Site.
Walby Grange is now a mixed farm but the enterprises have included dairy cows for milk production, cattle and sheep rearing for beef and lamb production and growing cereal crops such as wheat for grinding into flour for making bread, biscuits and cakes and barley for animal feed. Until 1992 vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and turnips were grown here for the family.
In 2006 we decided that we would like to diversify the family business and open a farm visitor attraction. After months of research and preparation we applied to Carlisle City Council for planning permission in 2007. Work on converting the cattle and silage buildings finally began in March 2008 and was completed in July 2008.
During 2007 the milking cows were sold, ending almost 80 years of milk production on the farm. Walby Grange is made up of 430 acres of land, 30 acres of which now comprise Walby Farm Park.
In 2012 there are 50 acres of Winter-sown Wheat, 140 acres of Winter Barley, 21 acres of Spring-sown Barley and 7 acres of Maize (sown under plastic) in addition to the grazing land. We have land entered into Environmental Stewardship (a DEFRA scheme rewarding good conservation practice) at both Entry Level and Higher Level. This includes 20 acres of over-wintered stubble. In spring 2012 we planted around 2500 native trees, you can see some of these at Jubilee Wood on our Nature Trail.
A large scale map of the whole farm is on the wall near Reception where you can see the unusual field names on the farm. These help us put livestock and crop in the right fields!
Now we also have lots of other animals, even pigs have returned to the farm after 35 years! In 2011 we became an Approved Conservation Centre for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) – the first in Cumbria. We hope you like the picture here of one of our rare breed Bagot goat kids – there are only 200-300 breeding females in the world!