AN AWARD-WINNING farm park in Dorset is in danger of folding after not being able to open under the current lockdown rules.

The Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park relies heavily on visitors’ ticket sales to maintain the upkeep of the horses, farm animals and running costs of the farm park.

During the lockdown the farm have had to supply a ton of hard feed and hundreds of pounds of hay and straw a week to feed their 20 heavy horses, seven ponies, alpacas and other animals.

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Owner and director of the farm park Elaine Street said: “Even though the two metre restriction is about to be reduced it still will make it almost impossible to operate as the whole visitor attraction was based about interaction with the heavy horses and farm animals during daily shows, demonstrations and tours.

“Even the heavy horse carriage rides and tractor trailer rides would only be able to accommodate one group at a time, meaning every visitor wouldn’t get a turn.

“This is proving such worrying times for us; it was difficult keeping such a rare attraction afloat at the best of times.”

The park in Verwood is home to all the major heavy horse breeds, including the Suffolk Punch, now being rarer than the giant panda, and the Shire and Clydesdale horse breeds, which are on the critical list of extinction.

Over the years the farm park has become a popular Dorset attraction, winning many coveted awards including gold in South West Tourism and Dorset Tourism Awards and collecting a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for the past eight years.

People with a passion for horses who wish to support the farm park can ‘adopt’ a horse, make a one off donation or become a park partner. Visit The Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park website.