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Stockley Farm Park, Cheshire
Stockley Farm Park is an open farm attraction and 750-acre mixed arable and dairy farm, situated on the Arley Hall Estate. Owned by the Walton family the open farm was established in 1987 and attracted 5,000 visitors in its first year, today that number is closer to 65,000.
Lesley Tait has been a core member of team responsible for driving that growth, exhibiting boundless energy and enthusiasm for the business.
Currently, Lesley is responsible for supervising the management of the open farm, which alongside ensuring high standards of animal husbandry and yard maintenance, also involves delivering ‘hands on’ fully interactive farm experiences to the general public. She trains new employees and students and refreshes current employees’ knowledge.
When not busy with those tasks, Lesley can be found coordinating the business’ mini-farm exhibit, which attends external venues across the region, and leading Stockley Farm Park’s educational programme ‘Stocktots’, which encourages parents and toddlers to engage in a different farm-based topic each week.
With ambitions to increase visitor numbers to 100,000 per annum, Lesley says she also has an eye on the next projects she would like to establish at Stockley. “I have recognised there are quiet times on the open farm that could be filled with new initiatives, particularly during autumn and winter, as well as late afternoons once visiting schools have departed.”
To fill the gaps, Lesley’s new ideas include: private experience packages, encouraging care homes to visit the farm for afternoon tea and then visit the animals, as well as initiatives for children with additional needs, such as ‘Autism friendly’ days and evenings.