A rare breeds farm which has been 39 years in the making is opening its doors today to show off its array of unique farmyard animals.
Ray Marzec planted the seeds for his idea in the 1970s and after buying the 44 acre Hogshaw site in 2002, he converted three disused barns and began saving up to fund the farm.
Ray got the green light to build in 2012 and now, Green Dragon Eco Farm is ready to welcome families to enjoy a day out with the cows, pigs, goats, chickens and sheep.
“It’s all pressure at the moment,” Ray said. “I’ve been running around like a mad man but it’ll all be worth it. It’s been 39 years in the making.
“If you don’t come from a rich family, it’s very hard to get the land because every little amount is owned by someone.”
The farm’s Eco Centre, which opened in October, is built from environmentally-friendly timber and heated by a biomass boiler.
It has a shop and a cafe but Ray is looking forward to bringing the farm to life with a selection of unusual animals.
He said: “They’re breeds that the farms don’t use anymore because they don’t produce the most milk or beef.
“Some of the animals are unusual and we’ll soon get in all sorts. Eventually, we’ll have everything from bees to cows.
“We’ve got a pets corner with smaller animals like guinea-pigs and rabbits and there’s a huge mural of dinosaurs.”
By the summer, the farm will boast a walled garden, bursting with heritage fruit and vegetables and the messy play barn will be packed with youngsters enjoying the sand-pits and soft toys.
There is also an adventure playground, an inflatable sleeping dragon which children can climb and a nature trail which they can follow.
But it is not all play, there is a conference room for meeting or workshops which companies can hire out.
On April 26, the centre is hosting a wedding fair to give brides and grooms-to-be ideas for their cakes, outfits and entertainment.
A seasonal menu is served at the cafe with most of the food locally sourced or picked from the farm’s own garden and orchards.
And coffee lovers can enjoy a hot drink with paninis, pastries and homemade cakes at the Green Dragon Coffee Shop.
For more information visit www.greendragonecofarm.co.uk and search for green dragonecofarm on Facebook.
A day pass for the farm, which includes access to the messy play barn, is £5.50 for adults and £4.50 for children. Under twos go free and the farm is open seven days a week.