On Thursday 7th August, what must be the UK’s most unusual coffee shop - Goats on the Roof - will open its doors, and while it may be rare, it’s certainly no accident. Quite literally, Billy the Bagot Goat and his friends will be living and grazing happily on the turf roof while equally happy visitors graze on their own cakes in the coffee shop below.
Located near Rothbury in Northumberland, Goats on the Roof Coffee Shop and Rare Breed Centre is the dream child of the Remnant Family. This new venture is a diversification of their original farm business Fontburn Rare Breeds.
Nina Remnant, partner explains: “The concept is popular in Canada and the USA, but as far as I know there isn’t anywhere in this country that boasts goats on the roof. The whole idea fits in with what we are about at Fontburn Rare Breeds, so we decided to adopt it.”
We will be literally raising the profile of Bagot Goats – these tiny goats are so rare that only a few herds remain in the country. We also hope the goats will bring attention to the work we do with other rare breeds.”
The family believe in rearing rare breeds in an environment where they can roam at will. At Goats on the Roof, Visitors will be able to see, experience and learn about rare breeds, including the family’s work with the Rare Breed Survival Trust, which is helping them become a conservation centre.
Already this new attraction on a hill farm on the edge of The Northumberland National Park is home to pigs including Oxford Sandy and Blacks, Berkshires, Middle Whites, Tamworths and Saddlebacks. Hebridean sheep are joined by rare breed hens with names alone that make them treasures – Buff Orpingtons and Marsh Daisies. More heritage breeds of sheep and hens, together with cattle and horses, are set to join over the coming year.
“Families and Children will see and learn about livestock and animal welfare, about the importance of preserving these rare breeds, and will gain a valuable insight into where their food really comes from,” continues Nina. “However, the main attraction is definitely Billy the Bagot Goat, who will be overseeing the grand opening. “
Goats on the Roof and Visitor Centre has been supported with funding from One North East’s Rural Development Programme. The coffee shop will serve lunches featuring local produce including rare breed pork and lamb from the farm and there will also be a play area for children.
This project, in addition to its role in conservation, has made a significant contribution to the local economy. Now 8 jobs have been created in this sparsely populated area and the new centre is helping to attract visitors to the area.
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