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By June 27, 2024No Comments
Established in 1998

The History of Farmer Palmer's Farm Park

Note from the Directors, Phillip Palmer and Sandra Palmer-Snellin (Brother and Sister).

"So many of you have stories about when you first visited, perhaps brought your children. I know friends who now bring their grandchildren, all of which makes us realise the passing of time is quick and precious. We have a catalogue of photos from the early days, and over the years. For those of you who have grown up with us, some of the images will be recognisable, some of the team who where here you will remember and trigger happy memories. To every one who has joined our journey over the more recent years, I hope the discovery of how the park used to look, and the changes we have made (many thanks to customers ideas) will make you smile".
1997 - 1998

Build, but will people come? Our idea of creating a farm park started coming to life with our shop entrance and designing the barns, play areas, and animal activities ready for you all to turn up - hopefully eek!

1998 - 2000

... And you did turn up! 30,000 of you, to be exact. We were able to offer an animal barn, undercover play, outside animal pens, straw mountain, tractor trailer ride, Wendy houses, café, and farm shop! We put our teacher hats on and demonstrated how to milk our cow!

2001 - 2003

Taking this time to look back shows us how much of an extended family you all are. These lovely images and message was sent to us just the other day...
"I just wanted to say a massive thank you for making our day today!! I’ve been coming to Farmer Palmer's for the last 20 years, I’m currently spending my 23rd birthday here today. It is also my aunts birthday - she turns 92. She has had a blast of a day - including meeting the deer. Thank you Farmer Palmer's for the last 20 years, and hopefully another 20 more! X"

2004 - 2006

We took you on our first tractor trailer ride and introduced a ball pit to our soft play.
We had so much fun creating new animal activities for you and your little ones! We introduced lamb feeding... and you LOVED our milking demo's.
But, one thing you kept requesting, was birthday parties. So, we listened and delivered our first birthday party - the rest is history. It's still such a popular celebration we offer your little ones.

2007 - 2008

By 2007, your little one's became true young farmers and fully grasped our lambing season. We got our first big pig bouncy castle and by 2008, out went the sand and diggers and in came the new water play.

2009 - 2012

We introduced deer to the park which meant that you could feed them from the trailer. After the feedback and success, our Deer Safari was born.
Our team looked smart in their cow print uniform and department colours tops (how fashion and our uniform has changed over time!).
As we grew bigger and employed more people, 1 desk became 2. Before we knew it, we had outgrown the downstairs office and built 6 desks upstairs.

2013 - 2016

We take pride in our park, ensuring it is beautiful each and every time you visit. Along with offering the cutest toys in our gift shop (which we are slowly but surely moving online).
After renovations were finally finished, we were able to open up our Little Farmer's Barn! Your little ones loved it, they're able to build, climb, play, and learn the vital motor skills they need to develop.
In 2015, we bought our very popular Wendy Houses from Enchanted Creations. We had our lovely barn owl, which would glide across the park and over the children during owl demonstrations.

2018 - 2019

Always planning for the future, that's us! It was such an exciting year as we were contacted by Nick and Peter who had a vision - The World Of Dinosaur Roar, to introduced a different kind of animal to our park (the extinct kind). With that, we set about upgrading our to our woodland walk, got planning permission and we were ready.
We also spent this year at the BAPTA's and won GOLD for the Visitor Attraction of the Year for The Tourism Awards Across The BH Postcodes!

In 2018/19, we were blown away when local company NBB Recycled Plastics approached us to offer us their Buddy Balance Trim Trail. Developed especially for children between 3 & 12 years. It is a firm favourite with children on their way to the Woodland Walk and The World Of Dinosaur Roar!

2020 - 2021

That fateful day when we had to send everyone home and shut up shop, not knowing what the future would hold. It was heart breaking for us and hard to comprehend.
The next 18 months saw crisis management, adaptability, innovation (online ticketing to build), supporting our team of 70 people and spending on meeting changes to make us socially compliant in so many ways.
The love and support you all demonstrated to get out and about in the fresh air and enjoy what we could offer was immensely humbling. We thank you every day for giving us a future for the generations to come.

2021 - 2022

Whilst we were partially open, our team got involved in with some amazing projects on the park. We started by restoring the lake down at the Woodland walk.
Back in the Victorian times, the lake became totally overgrown and lost. David Palmer's wife wished to see it re-instated so Phillip Palmer, Robbie (maintenance) and some of the team decided create it again for all of you to enjoy. It runs next to the Sherford River.
It is the home of The World of Dinosaur Roar but it is also the original Woodland Walk. Shady and calm, the water is full of fish, the river has dragonflies and a new world of biodiversity for the farm park.

2023 - present

People are often surprised when we say we have to limit the number of animals we can have, and jump through a huge Animal Exhibition Licence to show you our animals. But from this change, we delivered our Big Barn! Sadly, the goats running down to the feeding area had to stop. So, you could still feed our animals, we adapted and changed how the are animals are displayed, their rest time rotation is so much more structured than before. But, with your patience, and some amazing graft from the team - we have pulled through and opened our BIG BARN. Then to top it all, the team and the attention to quality helped us win double gold in the Dorset Tourism Award and GOLD in Dorset & South West Tourism Excellence Award 2023!
We also worked with the ladies from Storycises and produced a new children's book! We know how much children benefit from being outdoors, playing with other children, learning new skills - our book helps build your children relate to the story and encourage them to build their motor skills at home.
In 2024, we have built your kids new favourite area - The Splash Zone! With help from our friend at Touchwood Play, we have now introduced an interactive play area for those hot summer months. We have created a new wildflower area along the trim trail to encourage insects and bugs.

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