“ Address: Chipping / Preston / Lancashire / PR3 2QT / England „
Wow - This place is really great! If you have a family - definately go.
I spent many years laughing at the name of this place before I had children but once the pitter patter of tiny feet hit our house we started looking at our days out through different eyes. The sort of places we had turned our noses up now found us beating down their doors, desperate to get in.
I really like this attraction and hope I can do it justice in the review but if anything I write puts you off please read another review and be persuaded to go.
What is it?
It is a farm / park situated in an absolutely gorgeous valley in the Forest of Bowland. Chipping is the nearest village. The River Hodder flows through the park and there are lovely woods to walk in. It can be found by following the brown signs in the area.
Wild boars (and baby boarlets) are the main attraction but there are also other animals which include deer, goats, lambs, llamas and cows.
Children (under 2 FREE) £3.50
Family ticket (2 adults & up to 2 children) £14.00
Tractor + Trailer Rides per person £1.00
What to do there
The park itself is lovely to walk around in itself and see the animals in their pens. There is a range of walks which the more active people can do. There is a real emphasis on feeding the small animals and there are regular lamb feeding sessions. There are also regular chick stroking opportunities.
There are really good play area for children and an area to drive little tractors. There are plenty of picnic benches and a cafe selling what looked like quite good food and ice cream.
For thrill seekers there is a tractor which pulls wheeled barrels behind it. For the more mundane there is a tractor and trailer ride. Both of which are extra.
There is a small gift shop and a small selection of wild boar meat. I felt they could have done a bit more on the produce side.
Apparently they cater for birthday parties as well.
I really liked it. We live about an hour's drive and would definately go back again. Probably best to go on a nice day as the majority is outdoors.
On the whole, Bowland Wild Boar Park is an enjoyable day out, especially for children under the age of 10.
It is open everyday 10.30am - 5.30pm, is very reasonably priced and the owners are genuinely enthusiastic and friendly, with bigger and better ideas for the future. It has come on in leaps and bounds since I first visited (roughly 6 years ago), when it was home to just a few small animals and several stinky cattle sheds.
All the animals here do appear to be well cared for, have adequate room to roam and have plenty of food and water available.
The drive to the park is an adventure in itself. It really is out in the sticks! If you start questioning whether you've gone the right way, you're probably on the right road, so don't worry.
When you do arrive at the park, chances are you'll be greeted by one of the family members that own the park, and/or a peacock.
Entry into the park is payable by cash or cheque only. Once you've paid for admission, the park areas and children's play activities are free. If no-one is at the gates to greet you, there is an "honesty box" for you pay into.
Children (2 years and above) £3.50
Family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) - £14.00
OAP's - £3.50
Children under 2 years - free
The wild boar in the park actually tend to be the least most favourite attraction. Most kiddies just want to bottle feed the lambs and hold the chicks, which they can do at set times during the summer months.
Lamb feeding is at 11am, 2pm, 4.30pm
Chick handling - 11am, 2pm, 5pm.
The park's owners bring them out and then allow all the children who want to have a go, to have a turn. Nobody is pushed out or missed because they get everyone in one big circle to make sure. On top of that, baby wipes are freely available for anyone who happens to get pooped on by a fluffy cute little chick!
When the lambs and chicks aren't out, there are lots of other animals to see around the park including red deer, reindeer, donkeys, goats, llama's, skunks, wallabies, owls, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.
Visitors can hand feed many of these as well as go into the open pens of the smaller animals. Animal feed is available for visitors to use, for which they like you to make a donation of about 25p. When you have finished feeding, there are lots of small wash basins, hand soap and towels for you to use and clean up with after.
Obviously, there are some animals which you cannot feed and must not attempt to get near, (the wild boar for a start). Notices are clearly displayed and animals which can be particularly nasty are behind fences and secured safely.
Tractor trailer / barrel rides run throughout the day, with the park's owner simply jumping into his tractor and taking kids and adults alike, on a sightseeing tour of the area.
These are £1.00 per person and last about 15 mins.
The park has an adventure playground which is excellent. Along with the usual swings and slides, it has a zip wire and a sand pit, complete with spades and a ride-on digger. There are smaller pedal tractors available for younger kiddies to play on and a large "rabbit warren" is just outside the adventure playground, with large adjoining tunnels for the kids to crawl through and meet each other at end the end.
What does seem to be particularly fun for the kids is a very large barn filled with nothing but hay bales. The bales are tied securely and stacked to make deep tunnels, bunkers and steps which are great for playing army or hide and seek.
Also on site is a large education centre which is used for school and group bookings, and a small touring caravan area / children's birthday party can be arranged as well, but I don't know what these are like or how much they are; you'd need to contact the park directly.
The park is very pleasing on the eye, with several gorgeous woodland walks and lots of picnic tables, some of which are right beside the river Hodder. You're likely to see lots of wild birds and animals if you walk round the outer areas of the park. In spring, the woods look superbly colourful; even more so at Easter when children can take part in an Easter egg treasure hunt.
Wear comfortable stuff - preferably hiking boots or wellies. As its mainly grassy area, the chances are that you'll get muddy. Also, the footpaths can be uneven and in some areas are pretty steep. All visitors are given a map with info about the different routes to take though, so you won't get caught out.
Toilets are available and have always been clean and tidy when I've visited. There is a small cafe and shop as well which sells the usual tea, coffee, soft drinks and even its own meat produce. (This grosses me out just a bit actually)
The small gift shop sells predictable but nevertheless, nice little things such as key rings, pencils, soft toys etc.
The one fault I have with this park is that there is very little in the way of shelter if the weather is poor, so ensure you pack up warm gear if it's not looking promising.
Other than the café, there isn't really anywhere to go if it's bucketing down with rain.
You could go in the barn I suppose... .....
Or the rabbit warren?