Farmer Neil Milbourn and his wife Katie, run Walby Farm Park on their working, family farm, together with their 3 daughters, Holly, Izzie & Liv, all part of the brilliant ‘Team Walby’.
The Milbourn family first came to the farm here in 1928; the fields then were ploughed with Clydesdale horses just like Lady Alice who you can meet in our Animal Barn!
Our family farm is built on top of the line of Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just outside Carlisle in north Cumbria. It lies in the Solway Basin, a 1 mile from the River Eden.
- 1928 –since then mixed farm enterprises have included – dairy cows for milk production, cattle and sheep rearing for beef and lamb production, growing cereal crops (such as wheat for grinding into flour for making bread, biscuits and cakes) and barley for animal feed.
- 1992 – vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and turnips were grown here for the family. Potatoes made a comeback in 2013!
- 2006 – decision made to diversify the family business and open a farm visitor attraction.
- 2007 – after months of research and preparation we applied to Carlisle City Council for planning permission. The milking cows were sold, ending almost 80 years of milk production on the farm.
- 2008 – work on converting the cattle and silage buildings finally began in March, completed in July. Walby Farm Park opened on 5 July.
Today, our farm is made up of 450 acres of land, 30 acres of which now comprise Walby Farm Park.
We grow various arable crops depending on markets and weather and ground conditions at critical times of year – Winter-sown Wheat, Spring-sown Wheat, Winter Barley, Spring-sown Barley, Maize (sown under biodegradable plastic) and Oilseed Rape, in addition to Stubble turnips (swedes to most of us!) for sheep grazing and grass for all of our livestock. We have land entered into environmental stewardship schemes (DEFRA schemes 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 the first Approved Conservation Centre for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) in Cumbria.