William and Alfie arrive on Church Stretton farm
William and Alfie are settling into their new home in Shropshire - and their new working lives.
Acton Scott Historic Working Farm near Church Stretton have a new pair of shire horses to replace Charlie and Joe, favourites at the tourist attraction but fast approaching retirement.
The acquisition of William and Alfie has been possible thanks to a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign.
They are quickly learning the ropes which include ploughing the fields on the farm.
Now aged 10 and 11, the pair arrived at Acton Scott just over a week ago and have been gradually getting acclimatised to life on the working farm, meeting Charlie and Joe who are soon set for retirement as well as Dusty the donkey and Delilah the mule.
They have always lived and worked together, mainly pulling carts though they do have experience of working on the land as well.
Resident wagoner and equine manager at Acton Scott, Simon Trueman, has been training them since their arrival to make them fit and safe for life on a Victorian working farm.
"There is a long road ahead of them getting used to each different machine and building up their muscle power before they can completely take over the heavy work on the farm," he said.
"So far they haven’t put a foot wrong and will soon be relieving Charlie of the heavy duties.”
He said Charlie is still working but has moved to lighter duties that suit him better. Early visitors now have the opportunity to groom Charlie and sit on his back and he’s loving the attention. Joe is also out greeting the public and doing some of the lighter work.
Sarah Green, facilities manager at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, said: “All the team here at the farm are overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Shropshire and further afield and we are incredibly grateful.
“Their support will enable us to look after Charlie in his ‘phased retirement’ and keep the farm working in the traditional ways for many more years to come. All donations made at the museum this year will also be going towards the upkeep of our four magnificent horses.”
The farm is run by Shropshire Council. Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “I’m thrilled that Acton Scott Historic Working Farm have been able to acquire a working pair of shire horses, and I’m really looking forward to meeting them. I’m acutely aware that this would not have been possible without the amazing support and generosity of the Shropshire community and visitors to our wonderful county and I’m extremely grateful."
Acton Scott Historic Working Farm is holding a series of family and child friendly events, activities and workshops over the Easter holidays including the chance to get close to Charlie.