Future of farm attraction closed since June after E.coli outbreak to be discussed

Councillors will discuss the future of a popular tourist attraction that has been shut for months after an E.coli outbreak.

Sheep at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm
Sheep at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm near Church Stretton closed on June 24 after two cases were confirmed, but has still not reopened.

A report is now being prepared to figure out the scale of the work that needs to be done for it to comply with industry guidelines, before Shropshire councillors discuss it in a December meeting.

Locals are looking for answers about the farm, which has featured in the BBC television series Victorian Farm.

Chris Brandon, who owns a B&B nearby, believes the farm attracts a lot of tourists to the area, and would be a huge miss.

She said: "We get a lot of people that stay here and come here to go there. It has attracted many people over the years. It is historic farming but it gives an insight into what it's all about. It would be a pity to let it go."

Over the years, visitors to the farm have taken part in various workshops and courses on such activities as turning butter, hand-milking cows and herding livestock. Many skills such as bodging, forging, pole-lathing, wheel and brick-making are demonstrated. The Acton family live on the 1,500-acre estate and have worked it since the twelfth century.

Last summer, founder of the farm Tom Acton died aged 95. He was instrumental in creating the popular farming attraction in 1975, which has since welcomed more than a million visitors and featured on TV multiple times.

Keen to preserve the 18th Century brick-built home farm and developing a passion for traditional farming methods, Tom approached Shropshire Council and negotiated an agreement for them to run the farm museum.

Speaking on the current situation at the farm, Councillor Cecilia Motley, cabinet member responsible for culture and leisure, said: “Acton Scott Historic Working Farm closed to the public on Thursday, June 24 following reports of two confirmed cases of E.coli. The farm remains closed whilst a report is prepared identifying the essential works which need to be undertaken in order to ensure compliance with industry guidelines.

"This schedule of works and ongoing operating and maintenance costs will form part of an options appraisal for the farm museum which will be submitted to the meeting of full Council in December.

“We are in regular communication with the Acton family and essential staff continue to care for the animals onsite during the closure period.”

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