A family-run farm set in the Northamptonshire countryside offers families the chance to meet an ever-growing herd of Highland cattle

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‘It is very different to how most people probably imagine a farm’

A family-run farm set in the Northamptonshire countryside has been home to a stunning pedigree fold for more than two years.

The family has now opened the farm to the public for visitors to meet the property's ever-growing herd of Highland cattle.

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Colready Farm is a working and lamb-meat-producing farm that breeds pedigree Highland cows.

The Colready Farm family, Tom Dyer and Jo, his mother, pictured at the farm.The Colready Farm family, Tom Dyer and Jo, his mother, pictured at the farm.
The Colready Farm family, Tom Dyer and Jo, his mother, pictured at the farm.

The farm in Farthinghoe, near Brackley, Northamptonshire, has been raising a herd of more than 50 cattle with different characters and personalities since July 2021.

Tom Dyer, 32, one of the farm’s owners, said: “It is very different to how most people probably imagine a farm.”

Colready Farm has been a family-run farm for several generations and today, Jo and her eldest son, Tom, are currently in charge of day-to-day operations.

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The farm has been in Tom's family for more than a century and has been passed down through many generations. Tom has been helping on the farm since he was two years old, following in his grandfather's footsteps.

“I grew up on the farm with my grandfather,” said Tom.

A couple of years ago, after Jo and Tom took over the farm full-time, they decided to start producing lamb meat and breeding pedigree Highland cows as they had an interest in them and wanted to try out something different.

“We had a lot of people stopping along the road to look and take photographs. It was causing chaos,” said Tom.

He decided to ask the community on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested in visiting the farm. in June 2023, over a weekend, more than 300 people expressed their interest.

“It went a bit mad,” said Tom.

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The family introduced the ‘Highland Cattle Experience’ to provide visitors with the chance to meet the wonderful Highlands up close and personal.

“They are really inquisitive, so they are quite nosey. We have got quite a few characters that stand out and pose for pictures as well. They are very different to normal cows in their character and their manners. They are quite relaxed and like apples,” said Tom.

People can hand feed the cattle apples over the fence, take pictures with the herd, learn about the breed, and stroke the Highlands.

“We have got a calf called Sandy, he is 14 months old and our naughtiest one. If one of the guys who works on the farm puts their coat on a post, he will steal the coat and run across the field.

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“We’ve got Popeye, he is a bit of a diva. He always likes apples and to be the centre of attention,” said Tom.

The stunning fold has a lot of characters for people to meet. King John, an award-winning pedigree Highland bull, arrived at the farm in August 2022. He is very quiet and is said to be usually found scratching under a hedge.

“Most of our animals are used for breeding. They are relaxed in their most natural environment. We don’t shut them in. They are outside all year round. They can wonder as much as they want,” said Tom.

Tom shared that the Highlands are spoilt with attention and plenty of apples, have access to scratching brushes, and yoga balls to play with.

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“We just try to keep everything as natural as possible. We don’t use any fertiliser or chemicals on the grass. We wanted something low input which has a low impact on the environment as well,” said Tom.

The sessions take an hour to 90 minutes and the farm is open for booking on select weekdays and weekends, with morning and afternoon sessions, from 10am to 11.30am and 3pm to 4.30pm.

“We have had a few people who are kind of cautious with cows before who didn’t want to walk through the fields, but they have actually gone through and realised that they are not scary.

“They are friendly but they don’t come close. The babies come quite close but obviously, they are quite cute and look like little teddy bears,” said Tom.

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Visitors who are nervous about strolling through the fields can gain confidence by speaking with members of the staff who can be found around the farm.

“We keep them outside all year around and feed them grass but they do love apples. The bull likes apples as well,” said Tom.

The regular admission price for the Highland Cattle Experience is £15.00, with tickets for children aged five to 15 priced at £10.00 and children under the age of four priced at £5.00.

The booking slots are limited to 12-15 people per ticket type. Residents who want to book for a group of 10 or more have to contact the farm to request a special reservation.

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As the events take place mostly outside, the team recommends dressing appropriately for the weather with wellies or waterproof outdoor footwear.

Free parking and assistance for specific access requirements are available on-site, including a portaloo. Pets other than assistance dogs are not permitted. Residents need to contact the farm for special access requirements, as the farm's surfaces can be uneven.