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Open Farm Sunday brings thousands of visitors onto Norfolk farms

PUBLISHED: 15:20 09 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:09 11 June 2019

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. From left: Oscar Pope, 10, from Griston, Izzy Fuller, 8 from griston, Edith Hickson, 5, from Eye, George Hickson, 3, from Eye, and Reece Pope, 12, from Griston. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. From left: Oscar Pope, 10, from Griston, Izzy Fuller, 8 from griston, Edith Hickson, 5, from Eye, George Hickson, 3, from Eye, and Reece Pope, 12, from Griston. Picture: Chris Hill

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A rare chance to peek behind the farm gate brought thousands of visitors into the Norfolk countryside to learn about the industry which puts food on our tables.

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Pictured on a vintage tractor are Tobias and Beatrice Hatfield-Mellor, from Harleston, aged two and six. Picture: Chris HillOpen Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Pictured on a vintage tractor are Tobias and Beatrice Hatfield-Mellor, from Harleston, aged two and six. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday is a national event co-ordinated by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), aiming to engage the public with agriculture by inviting them onto farms for some informative countryside fun.

Farms taking part across our nationally-important food-producing region ranged from major arable operations such as the "birthplace of modern agriculture" at the Holkham estate, to heritage displays of working Suffolk Punch horses at Gressenhall, as well as family-run mixed farms and producers of beef, pork and dairy products.

Activities on offer include guided tours, tractor rides, milking and shearing demonstrations, and displays of machinery ranging from vintage workhorses to the state-of-the-art, satellite-guided harvesters which gather today's crops.

It was a day for families - whether interested neighbours from surrounding villages or urban dwellers from Norwich - to enjoy farm-reared foods on a summer barbecue, while the children met lambs and calves, or rode around on pedal-powered tractors.

Open Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria PertusaOpen Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

But it was also a chance for any concerned consumers to ask farmers questions about how they grow their crops, ensure the welfare of their animals, and look after the environment.

One passionate supporter of Open Farm Sunday is Tim Lewis of Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston, which welcomed an estimated 5,000 visitors.

He said: "Our industry is a very open workplace - you can drive around the countryside and see what's happening but, through no-one's fault, there is this disconnect between what we are doing and the buying public. So we are thrilled to have the opportunity to open up the farm. It is an opportunity for the buying public to come and ask questions, and if they have any concerns we can reassure them of our best practice in looking after the animals and the countryside."

Among the visitors to the farm were Dawn Hatfield and Robert Mellor with their children Beatrice, six, and Tobias, two. Ms Hatfield said: "They know where their food comes from. Beatrice likes the animals best, but Tobias loves the machinery and the tractors.

Open Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria PertusaOpen Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

"We live in Harleston so to have something like this on our doorstep, so they can see the work of a real farm, is fantastic."

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris HillOpen Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Pictured: Grace Hacker, 6, and her mother Louise from Carlton Colville. Picture: Chris HillOpen Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Pictured: Grace Hacker, 6, and her mother Louise from Carlton Colville. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria PertusaOpen Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Open Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria PertusaOpen Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris HillOpen Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris HillOpen Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria PertusaOpen Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris HillOpen Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Pictured on a vintage tractor are Tobias and Beatrice Hatfield-Mellor, from Harleston, aged two and six. Picture: Chris HillOpen Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Pictured on a vintage tractor are Tobias and Beatrice Hatfield-Mellor, from Harleston, aged two and six. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria PertusaOpen Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Open Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria PertusaOpen Farm Sunday at Manor Farm in Fundenhall. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Open Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris HillOpen Farm Sunday 2019 at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston. Picture: Chris Hill

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah DarnellOpen Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah Darnell

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah DarnellOpen Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah Darnell

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah DarnellOpen Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah Darnell

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah DarnellOpen Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah Darnell

Isaac Rootham with the potatoes he picked at Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah Darnell. Picture: Sarah DarnellIsaac Rootham with the potatoes he picked at Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah Darnell. Picture: Sarah Darnell

Oscar and Alby checking out the modern farming equipment at Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah DarnellOscar and Alby checking out the modern farming equipment at Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Picture: Sarah Darnell

Holkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham EstateHolkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham Estate

Holkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham EstateHolkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham Estate

Holkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham EstateHolkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham Estate

Holkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham EstateHolkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham Estate

Holkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham EstateHolkham's Open Farm Sunday was attended by approximately 1,500 people. Picture: Stephen Retchless, Holkham Farming Company, Holkham Estate

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