Double diversifications come into play at farm-themed adventure park

New combine harvester play equipmentmade by NGF Play is installed at Hirsty's Family Fun Park, Hemsb

New combine harvester play equipmentmade by NGF Play is installed at Hirsty's Family Fun Park, Hemsby. Pictured are Richard Hirst (R), owner of Hirsty's and John Reader owner of NGF Play. - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography

Two Norfolk farming enterprises have combined their diversification initiatives to provide summer fun for families at an east coast adventure park.

A seven-metre wooden combine harvester is the latest centrepiece at Hirsty's Family Fun Park – part of a fourth-generation family farming enterprise at Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth.

The play equipment was designed and custom-built by NGF Play of Gressenhall, near Dereham, owned and run by John Reader, another farmer who diversified into the leisure market 13 years ago.

Youngsters can crawl through the harvester reel, play with the 'controls' in the cab, climb a cargo net into the grain tank and a slide out of the straw chute.

Mr Reader now employs an additional five people in his business, based at Manor Farm in Gressenhall, which designs and installs play equipment for schools, parish councils, pubs and fun parks.

He said: 'We build all sorts of things, such as boats, trains and log-pile climbers. Hirsty's was the first combine harvester we designed; it worked so well we made a second one for our stand at this year's Royal Norfolk Show where it attracted several enquiries.'

Hirsty's owner Richard Hirst is anticipating more than 20,000 visitors at his farm-themed attraction, which has grown from its beginnings as a maize maze in 2007.

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The park has now opened for its summer season, including a catering upgrade with the addition of Hirsty's Hungry Hut – a new, permanent structure built by another Norfolk firm, Carter Cabins of King's Lynn.

'We are continually improving our offering to visitors of the Fun Park,' said Mr Hirst. 'The combine has lots of exciting features for crawling, climbing, sliding and swinging, and the improvements at Hirsty's Hungry Hut adds to our commitment to offering a first-class, fun, family day out.'

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