Did you hear about the secret farm? The Garden House is a community project based in Marple, just outside of Stockport. It hasn’t been open for very long, but hundreds of families across Greater Manchester and the North West have been heading there for a fun family day out. If you haven’t been yet, here are 10 things you need to know.
1: It’s free – but take money
Entry to the community farm is completely free. However, you’ll still want to take some money. The project is made possible thanks to donations from the public. So make sure you have some cash on you to leave in the collection buckets, which are dotted around the site.
2: There’s parking on site – but you can also get the train there
There’s a free car park on site, which you can access via Lakes Roads. Be careful driving down this road – there are a lot of potholes! On weekends and sunny days, the car park fills up quickly. It’s not advisable to park on Lakes Road, but there are residential roads around the area where you can park easily before walking down. Alternatively, the farm is only a ten minute walk from Marple station if you want to get the train. It’s a bit of a steep hill down Lakes Road to the Garden House, so it’s very good exercise going back up!
The address for the Garden House is: The Garden House, Lakes Road, Marple, Stockport, SK6 7DH.
3: Arrive by 10.30am if you want to help feed the animals
If your children would like to help feed the animals, it’s a good idea to get there as early as possible. The staff at the secret farm in Marple usually feed the animals around 10.30am or shortly after, and are happy for visitors to give them a helping hand.
4: You can get up close and personal
Throughout the year, the Garden House offers various opportunities to get close up to the animals. For example, at Easter children could pet the lambs and at the moment they are letting visitors cuddle the piglets. You can check the Facebook group for updates on what activities they are currently offering.
5: You can party there
The Garden House in Marple has just started to offer birthday party packages – a great alternative to soft play and bouncy castles.
6: They do great bacon butties
As well as taking money to make a donation, you’ll also want some cash to sample the refreshments at the café. The café sells hot and cold drinks, great bacon butties, sandwiches, crisps, cakes and fruit. It’s all really good value and yummy! Visitors can also buy fresh eggs to take home.
7: It’s not just animals
There are lots of animals at the Garden House, including alpacas, goats, chickens, pigs, horses and sheep. Children might also be able to hunt out some creepy crawlies in the handmade bug house. Additionally, there’s a great choice of outdoor play equipment and toys for the children to play on. There are swings, sandpits, slides, climbing frames, ride on toys and lots more. It’s all kept clean and in good condition and perfect for toddlers, preschoolers and younger children.
8: It’s a great base to explore the surrounding area
From the farm you can walk along the river to go into Marple or to the Roman Lakes. While the Garden House itself is pram and buggy friendly, you may struggle with wheels on the walk by the river. If it’s been raining, it can get quite muddy on and around the Garden House so make sure you take wellies.
9: It’s open all year round
The Garden House is open seven days a week, throughout the year, from 10am to 4pm.
10: It’s going to get bigger and better
The generous donations from the public are being invested back into the community project. Already the farm has been able to buy a new kitchen, install toilets and buy equipment for the animals. There are plans to build an educational centre around some of the remains of one of the old buildings on the site, which looks really exciting from the plans.
Have you been to the Garden House in Marple yet? I’d love to know what you think. Tweet me!