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‘We need your support’ - animal park calls on public to back local attractions

PUBLISHED: 11:52 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:52 06 July 2020

Melsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, is set to reopen having been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon Barnes

Melsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, is set to reopen having been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon Barnes

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An animal park owner has urged people to stay local this summer after several Norfolk attractions were left fighting for survival.

Melsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, is set to reopen having been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon BarnesMelsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, is set to reopen having been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon Barnes

Melsop Farm Park in Scoulton, between Watton and Hingham, reopened on Saturday, having closed when lockdown was enforced in March.

In the ensuing months, staff have been busy implementing a host of measures to keep the public safe, without hindering the quality of their experience.

Visitors can still see all of the farm’s animals, including Bagot Goats, Gloucester Cattle, Balwen Welsh Mountain Sheep and a multitude of other rare breeds.

While the popular attraction was permitted to return from June 15, co-owner Jordan Stone was keen to avoid rushing into reopening.

Jordan Stone, owner at Melsop Farm Park between Watton and Hingham, is looking forward to reopening after a lengthy closure amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon BarnesJordan Stone, owner at Melsop Farm Park between Watton and Hingham, is looking forward to reopening after a lengthy closure amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon Barnes

“We didn’t reopen straight away because we wanted to be as prepared as possible and give ourselves the time we needed to make visiting as safe as possible,” said the 26-year-old.

“Being a farm park our cleaning and hygiene regime was already very strong, but we have done everything we can to give families the confidence they need to come and visit.”

Among the measures introduced at Melsop are extra hand sanitiser stations, protective screens, social distancing in queues and a one-way system in all buildings.

The serving area has been expanded to ensure food and drink can be bought safely, although government guidelines mean its indoor soft play facility is not yet permitted to reopen.

Melsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, is set to reopen having been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon BarnesMelsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, is set to reopen having been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon Barnes

Mr Stone, who runs the farm alongside his parents, Keith and Sue, is optimistic about its future - but admits the support of the local community is essential in getting the business back on its feet.

“I really do hope people come out and back their local attractions over the summer,” added Mr Stone. “We really need people’s support and have worked incredibly hard and invested a lot of money in getting ready to reopen.

“We’ve still had significant overheads to keep our animals healthy while we’ve been shut, and when people visit they are coming to see a very special collection.

“It would be great if people opt for a staycation and invest their money locally rather than abroad this year. For businesses like ours, that revenue is irreplaceable.”

Melsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, is set to reopen having been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon BarnesMelsop Farm Park, between Watton and Hingham, is set to reopen having been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Simon Barnes

Melsop Farm Park is open from 10am to 5pm, seven days a week, until the end of August.


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