December 8 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Alpacas are a rare species in the UK, but on Sunday visitors to a south Norfolk farm had the opportunity to meet the south American camelid at an open day.
Woodbine Farm at Weybread is home to 62 alpacas and the owners Pauline Sandell and David Cooper welcomed families who took the opportunity to take the Llama-like animals around an obstacle course at the farm, as well as see displays of felting and spinning.
Mrs Sandell said visitors could also view the alpacas with a view to buying them and there were also stalls selling products made from alpaca fibres, including Purl of Cambridge and Butlers Farm Alpaca shop.
The former administrative office worker said she started the farm with her partner Mr Cooper five years ago because they were both reaching retirement age and wanted to do something that would provide them with a challenge and would mean they would be occupied during their retirement.
She added: “This was why we thought alpacas would be a good way to spend our retirement. It is quite a relaxing way to look after animals. They are very calming, we find them a relaxing animal. If we are stressed, we go out and spend ten minutes with the animals and that relaxes us.”
As well as selling the alpacas themselves, the couple also sell the alpaca fibres, which are regarded as one of the finest fibres in the world for their insulation properties which keep people warm in winter and cool in summer.
Mrs Sandell beieved more than 200 people had visited the farm on the day, adding: “It has been going rather well. We have had a great deal of interest, certainly we have had a steady stream of people. Thankfully, the weather kept nice for the event.
“The people who came in the morning and had a look have told us what a good time they had.”
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis has hailed the town’s growing significance as an energy hub after the arrival of a new offshore business bringing the promise of 100 jobs over the next three years.