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Lockdown restrictions spark alpaca picnics at Broseley farm

The coronavirus pandemic has no doubt had a disastrous effect on thousands of businesses throughout the country.

LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 18/08/2020 - James Armitage started his Farm two years ago with just a couple of hens. Having expanded to get Alpacas, he has since introduced socially distanced Alpaca Picnics. In Picture: 1 day old Alpaca..
LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 18/08/2020 - James Armitage started his Farm two years ago with just a couple of hens. Having expanded to get Alpacas, he has since introduced socially distanced Alpaca Picnics. In Picture: 1 day old Alpaca..

But despite the crisis, forced closures and hardship have sparked innovators and entrepreneurs across Shropshire to think outside of the box and at one Broseley farm, into the fields.

LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 18/08/2020 - James Armitage started his Farm two years ago with just a couple of hens. Having expanded to get Alpacas, he has since introduced socially distanced Alpaca Picnics..

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced people were able to venture outdoors for a socially distanced picnic following a full lockdown of the country, Mad House Farm in Pound Lane took the opportunity to launch its Paca Picnics, giving visitors the chance to sit in the sunshine and enjoy an outdoor experience surrounded by friendly alpacas.

LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 18/08/2020 - James Armitage started his Farm two years ago with just a couple of hens. Having expanded to get Alpacas, he has since introduced socially distanced Alpaca Picnics..

Having started the farm in 2018 with just a couple of hens, owner James Armitage is now three months into taking bookings and said his furry friends and juvenile alpacas, known as cria, are proving quite the attraction.

The Paca Picnics idea was sparked following easing in lockdown restrictions

With the chance to get up close and pet the animals, each group is allocated their own area for private use where they can take food and drink, or just go along to relax with the fellow farm-dwellers including family favourite, Daisy.

The Paca Picnics idea was sparked following easing in lockdown restrictions

Mr Armitage said: “Soon we will also be offering private and exclusive alpaca walks, arts and crafts and a more seasonal take on the original picnic. We started the farm with a few hens two years ago and it soon expanded.

The Paca Picnics idea was sparked following easing in lockdown restrictions

“Along came the alpacas and we fell in love. They are simply amazing animals all with their own unique character and charm.

Ironbridge resident Nicola Lowery visited the farm

"The picnic idea came to us in mid-winter when we were stuck in the field with all that bad rain. When we unpacked our lunch and sat in the trailer to eat, we were swiftly joined by Daisy and the girls.

The Paca Picnics idea was sparked following easing in lockdown restrictions

"It was delightful even with the wind and rain on that day it was just such an amazing experience.

The Paca Picnics idea was sparked following easing in lockdown restrictions

“Time passed, Covid-19 arrived and the the Prime Minister said we could eventually have a picnic. 'That’s it', we thought, let’s do the Paca Picnics.

The Paca Picnics idea was sparked following easing in lockdown restrictions

“We are now three months in and bookings are going well. The idea has been used by a few other alpaca farms up and down the country as a contactless way to open up before they could for walks, and it's been good to see it helping others.

"You simply have to come and meet our girls to fully understand how amazing they really are."

The Paca Picnics idea was sparked following easing in lockdown restrictions

Ironbridge resident Nicola Lowery visited the farm and said: “Over the last few months, I have like many, got back to nature, as this is one of the few places where the world we know and love hasn’t changed, where you can relax in the outdoors and can enjoy the rewarding experience of being with such beautiful animals and get to know the delightful characters of the alpacas.

The Paca Picnics idea was sparked following easing in lockdown restrictions

“Each alpaca including baby alpaca Cria has a unique character and it is so therapeutic spending time with them in the heart of rural Shropshire.

"James and his family have created something really special here and I would highly encourage anyone who loves animals and the outdoors to experience this memorable adventure with the alpacas."

For more information, visit madhousefarm.co.uk

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