SUNSHINE and strawberries sent families flocking to Lotmead Farm.

Part of the nationwide Open Farm Sunday event, the day saw them meeting the animal residents, climbing on tractors and watching the cows being milked.

The strawberry field was busy with pickers filling punnets while youngsters made the most of the playground.

Farm manager John Meaden, who was busy dealing with inquiries from interested visitors, said: “It has been a very funny year. We started off with a very hot April, then it went to a very cold and dry May, then frost did damage to the crops, but we pulled through and things at the moment are looking good.”

The farm near Wanborough was bustling with visitors enjoying the sunshine. He said: “They absolutely love it. We get more and more people every year. On Wednesday during the school half term we were inundated.”

In the fields there were turkey chicks, pygmy goats, and guinea fowl along with a donkey, chickens and geese.

Up in the farmyard visitors could watch sheep being sheared and then have a go at spinning the wool. Calves dozed in their pens and in the milking parlour families were invited to have a go at churning their own butter in between the milking sessions.

Children could follow a nature trail or take a close look at huge modern farm machines alongside a beautiful vintage steam traction engine belonging to engineer Colin Hatch.

Open Farm Sunday, which started in 2006, gives farmers across the UK an opportunity to show people how they produce food and what happens on the farm.

Lotmead started out more than 60 years ago as a traditional dairy farm and first opening its gates to the public in the 1980s.

Next weekend it will host a display of working shire horses and birds of prey, followed on June 25 by a dog and duck show.

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