Chatsworth Farmyard is home to a number of the country’s rarest breeds of livestock and equines, including Suffolk Punch horses, Shire horses, Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, Bagot goats and Cream Legbar chickens, with British Landrace pigs and Eriskay ponies due to join them soon.
The award comes as the family-friendly farmyard and children’s adventure playground reopen (13 April) to visitors after several months closed in line with Covid restrictions. The garden is also open and the house will reopen on 18 May.
The farmyard at Chatsworth in Derbyshire has provided agricultural education and entertainment for almost half a century, and the estate has a longstanding connection with RBST. Duchess Deborah, mother of the current Duke of Devonshire, served as RBST President and the Cavendish family are valued ambassadors for native breed conservation.
RBST is the national charity that works to secure the future of rare breeds of native livestock and equines. Chatsworth Farmyard now becomes part of the 25-strong network of RBST accredited farm parks which take part in crucial conservation programmes, manage special breeding groups, and support education about rare breeds and why they matter.
RBST Chief Executive Christopher Price: “Native breeds have an important place in a future for farming where sustainable production goes hand in hand with the natural environment, but they are also an irreplaceable part of our rural heritage. For centuries these animals ploughed our fields, took our soldiers to war and powered our wool industry, it would be devastating if they disappeared, and Chatsworth Farmyard has been doing crucial work to support the survival of some of our rarest native breeds. I am thrilled to welcome them to the network of RBST-accredited farm parks and I look forward to working with the team.”
Melissa Underwood, Chatsworth Farmyard Manager: “Since joining Chatsworth Farmyard in September 2020 we have been increasing the numbers of rare breeds kept here. One of my best moments has been to discover that the Albion breed of cattle originated here in Bakewell. They were an obvious choice for us to have here and we hope to use them in our milking demonstrations later in the year. We were lucky to be able to source our two females and look forward to welcoming their calves in the summer. I am passionate about rare breeds and their conservation and look forward to sharing our journey and exciting new breeding programmes with our visitors.”
about the network of RBST-accredited farm parks
The RBST Accredited Farm Parks network includes a variety of organisations - large and small; charities, local authority-run and private; countryside farm parks and urban city farms, and also education establishments and heritage centres.
Between them, they look after some of the rarest breeds of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, ponies and poultry in the UK. Some of these breeds, loved and cherished by our ancestors for centuries, are at a critical status. The RBST accredited network is a vital part of ensuring these breeds’ survival for the future.
They are also a fantastic ‘shop window’ for native breeds, encouraging hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to take an interest in rare breeds and why their survival matters.