2015-02-18  

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Walby Farm Park is Farm Attraction of the Year

Farm and rural attractions from around the UK gathered in Milton Keynes this week for the annual National Farm Attractions Network (NFAN) conference and awards, celebrating the best in farm parks and countryside attractions.

Over 150 farm and rural attraction delegates were at the conference which included presentations from some of the UK’s leading experts on visiting farms and the UK’s wider visitor attractions sector.

Walby Farm Park team receive the Farm Attraction of the Year award plaque  

Walby Farm Park team receive the Farm Attraction of the Year award plaque

Ian Pigott, founder of Open Farm Sunday, gave the Keynote Speech in which he gave an insight into his reasons for setting up Open Farm Sunday, a national farm open day which started in 2006 and has subsequently welcomed more than 1.4 million people onto UK farms.

Other presenters included Paul Kelley Chief Executive of BALPPA who gave a presentation on the investment life cycle for attractions, Chris Webster from Wink Associates spoke about the science and art of predicting visitor attraction footfall, and Beth Cooper from Timberplay gave an insight into the psychology of play. Delegates also heard presentations from three different farm attractions who all stage successful Christmas events - Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen take note!

Matt Heast, Chairman of the NFAN, said, “The 2015 Conference is such an important event for the industry and we are delighted to have Ian Pigott as our Keynote Speaker. It is an opportunity to meet and network with fellow operators, learn from a packed speaker programme and meet the key suppliers at the industry trade show, all under one roof.”

Alongside the Annual Conference, NFAN hosted its annual awards ceremony, the Farm Attraction ‘Oscars’ celebrating the very best in farm and countryside attractions. The big winner on the night was Walby Farm Park in Cumbria who scooped at hat trick of awards; Best Food & Beverage, Customer Service Excellence and the top award, the Jim Keetch Farm Attraction of the Year.

Owner Neil Milbourn from Walby Farm Park was delighted. Says Neil,
“To win not one but three awards is amazing! This is a great achievement and recognises our team’s hard work and commitment to ‘Team Walby’. We are continually looking to improve Walby Farm Park and add to our visitor’s experience. The quality and entertainment value of farm attractions throughout the UK improves year on year, to reach this standard is an amazing thing when you know how high the standard is now!”

Other award winners were Cannon Hall Farm in Yorkshire who won Best Innovation, and Old Macdonald’s Farm in Essex who won Best in Education. Digitickets took the award of Best Trade Supplier.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Barry Davies of Davies & Co., In presenting the award NFAN Chairman Matt Heast said, “Barry has been instrumental over the past nearly 20 years in nurturing and growing the National Farm Attractions Network to be the successful membership organisation it is today.”

NFAN AWARDS 2015

New Innovation Award
Winner – Cannon Hall Farm, Yorkshire
Joint runners up – Park Hall the Countryside Experience and Fishers Adventure Farm Park

Lifetime Achievement Award –
Awarded to - Barry Davies, Davies & Co., Kettering
Highly Commended – Chris Murray – Pennywell Farm
Highly Commended – Tim Rollings – Fishers Adventure Farm Park

Best Trade Supplier
Winner – DigiTickets, Devon

Best Food and Beverage Award
Winner – Walby Farm Park, Cumbria
Runner up – Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park
Highly Commended – Sharnfold Farm and Lee Valley Park Farms

Customer Service Excellence
Winner – Walby Farm Park, Cumbria
Highly Commended – Stockley Farm Park
Highly Commended - Kent Life

Best in Education
Winner – Old MacDonald’s Farm, Essex
Runner up – Hall Hill Farm
Highly Commended – Barleylands and Hollow Trees Farm

Jim Keetch Farm Attraction of the Year Award
Winner – Walby Farm Park, Cumbria

Farm Attractions

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