This Little Piggy
Animal petting, go-carting, and a massive outdoor trampoline - what's not to like about Green Dragon Eco Farm?!
It’s been a while since we checked in with the Green Dragon Eco farm in North Bucks, so I sent Muddy mucker Kerry Potter down with her two children in tow for trampolining, animal petting and cake. Yeah I know, she gets all the tough gigs.
Say hello to my leetle friends….
That Scarface reference was lost on my five-year-old and eight-year-old (they’re such philistines, those kids) but these furry faces were just one of the highlights of our weekend trip to the Green Dragon Rare Breeds Farm & Eco Centre, near Quainton, North Bucks. Must admit this place wasn’t at the top of our day-trip to-do list, flying, as it does, under the radar but I’m so very glad we rocked up.
The farm opened in 2015 and, two years in, owner Ray Marzec is passionate about providing educational fun – and a healthy dose of fresh air – to primary school age children. He’s one of those inspiring people who’s fizzing with ideas and enthusiasm, which means the farm is constantly moving forward and the visitor experience is constantly evolving.
There’s absolutely tonnes to do – we went for an afternoon but there’s easily enough here to fill a full day. (I had the vague idea of combining it with a jaunt to the nearby Bucks Railway Centre but actually it’s standalone trip.) There’s the timber-clad eco centre housing a café/restaurant and gift shop, the soft play barn with kiddie café, the messy play barn (sandpits, hay bales etc), a pedal go-kart track, hundreds of farm animals to pet and feed (including ridiculously cute piglets and lambs that you can bottle-feed at this time of year), an extensive outdoor playground, various walks and trails, a wild flower meadow, a wildlife pond and acres (44 to be precise) of rolling fields in which to burn off energy.
And there are new developments aplenty. Ray is expanding Pets Corner – the idea being children learn about animals they might one day have as pets, from snakes (don’t get any ideas, kids) to ferrets to stick insects. He’s just been awarded a zookeeper’s licence and now plans to add more exotic creatures to the gang. Parrots will be arriving soon for the new aviary and an owl sanctuary is imminent. Plus, they’re keen on emphasizing a ‘farm to fork’ ethos here so children make connections between what they see on the farm and what they put in their gobs. You can try the beef, pork etc in the cafe and the pretty Walled Garden is expanding this season, with even more herbs, fruit and veg among its bounty. I had a peaceful stroll around it while the children tore round the adjacent go-kart track.
My mini hacks’ top 3 best bits? The brilliantly inquisitive goats, the slabs of homemade lemon and chocolate cakes at café (go to the more grown-up one near the main door to avoid the soft play screamers) and the giant bouncy pillow which is essentially the coolest trampoline ever – a huge multi-coloured tarpaulin, inflated with hot air. Don’t tell anyone but I had a go on it myself, providing my gymnast daughter the opportunity to mock my wonky cartwheels. It was also an exhilarating way to take in the glorious, green rolling fields.
It’s very keenly priced too – just £8 per adult and £7 per child. To further keep down costs, you can bring a picnic – there’s plenty of space (inside and out) to unwrap your egg sarnies. And if you just want to stop by for coffee or lunch, you don’t need to pay the entrance fee – on our visit, lots of cyclists dropped in for a mid-ride break.
Basically, if you’re seeking a not-overly-commercialized, low-key day out for this coming half term or the summer hols (you know, those times when you just can’t be faffed with Legoland and its ilk) then this is a splendid option. Just avert your eyes from the middle-aged woman disgracing herself on the trampoline.
Green Dragon Rare Breeds Farm & Eco Centre, Claydon Rd, Hogshaw, Bucks, MK18 3LA. Tel 01296 670444, greendragonecofarm.co.uk