A Devon dairy farm that features in Michael Morpurgo’s book War Horse has opened a museum documenting the role horses played in World War 1.
Parsonage Farm at Iddesleigh, near Winkleigh has been in the Ward family for nearly 100 years.
“Our neighbour Michael Morpurgo based War Horse on our farm and surrounding area,” said Graham Ward.
The permanent exhibition, which opened this Easter in a redundant 500 year-old cob barn on the farm, took 2 years to plan.
It is open to public every weekend from 2-6pm until the end of September.
The Wards found a 16hh bay Joey look-alike locally, with the horse having the distinctive white diamond forehead and 4 white socks of his film version.
In the barn there are hundred of exhibits, many showing how farming has changed over the past 100 years. There are old photos of the army buying horses from the farmers for WW1 and examples of old farm machine shown alongside modern counterparts.
“Every farm around here in those days used to have at least a pair of Shire horses. The exhibition shows how machines took over and made the horses redundant,” said Mr Ward.
Also on show is a pickaxe carried by Wilfred Ellis, whose wartime experiences helped inspire the War Horse book. His widow who lives locally is the last surviving WW1 widow in the country.
For more information visit: www.warhorsevalley.co.uk