Prince Charles pays a visit to Suffolks and other rare breeds as pioneering farm prepares to reopen

  • Prince Charles visited Suffolk horses and other animals at Cotswold Farm Park to discuss rare breeds conservation with owner and Countryfile presenter Adam Henson.

    Farm Park is a Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) accredited farm and Adam is strongly involved in preserving a number of rare breeds.

    It became the first RBST-accredited farm when it opened in 1971 by his father, Joe Henson MBE.

    Mr Henson senior, a founder member of the RBST, saw the rapid intensification of farming following World War Two and how rare and native breeds of farm animals were lost in favour of faster-growing, more productive continental breeds.

    He started collecting rare breeds to prevent them from extinction and opened the farm park as a way of contributing towards the cost of their keep.

    Cotswold Farm Park, which also welcomes riders for fun rides, re-opens this weekend after months of closure owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

    “It was a great honour to welcome the Prince of Wales to Cotswold Farm Park before we re-open to the public on 4 July,” said Adam.

    “His Royal Highness is incredibly knowledgeable about farming, food production and rural tourism, he voiced his encouragement that multi-generational families should get back out into the fresh air to enjoy everything that the countryside brings. He was particularly impressed by our campsite and new sunset lodges and the importance of staycations to rural businesses.”

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    RBST chief executive Christopher Price added the 21 accredited farm parks are “vital” to ensuring the survival of some of the country’s rarest native breeds.

    “They all participate in crucial conservation breeding programmes as well as promoting the benefits of native breeds,” he said.

    “The coming few months are going to be very difficult for farm parks and as they make plans to reopen safely, we can all support them and the conservation of rare breeds by visiting as soon as we can and going back regularly throughout the year to watch the animals change and grow.

    “I am grateful to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales for all his support for the survival of rare breed livestock and equines, and I thank Adam Henson and Cotswold Farm Park for hosting the visit [on Wednesday, 1 July].”

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