“ Address: Kings Langley / Hertfordshire / WD4 8RW / England „
Just got back from a lovely visit here with my 18 month old, lovely surroundings, friendly animals (ducks, chickens, sheep, pigs, rabbits, ferrets, owls, goats and gorgeous axis deer (bambi)). Lots of lovely toys (including a mini footie pitch and putting green) and climbing frames, plenty of seating and picnic areas and friendly helpful staff. I can imagine its not very good in the rain though. Yes its a bit rough round the edges and its not huge, but its £3 (adults £1.50 children) and its a charity. If your after a full day out with events this isnt it (after all you will be expecting to pay alot more for that) but if you want a nice afternoon wander and some friendly animals to meet then i couldnt fault it. Will definitely be back
Langleybury Children's farm
Phone(s): 01923 270603
Admission charges are £1.50 for children and £3 for adults. The farm is open at weekends and school holidays between Easter and Halloween. (11am to 5pm).
I do have a vested interest in writing this review, as the farm was once attached to Langleybury secondary school. In fact, at the age of 11, when I was doing the rounds of schools to decide my fate for the next 5 years, it was the farm that made the decision for me. My dad volunteered there at weekends and I spent many happy hours of my childhood "helping" (I was paid in bags of crisps from the shop). The school closed in 1996, amid political conspiracies, and I have rarely been back since. But this year, with spring in the air, I began to think about the lambs, kids and ducklings I loved in my former years, and decided I would just have to pay a visit to the old place. Well, I was disappointed.
There is a pretty pond at the entrance, fenced off for safety and somewhat surrounded by large bushes and ferns, so you can only really see it from the entrance. You enter by way of a giftshop, which serves food and drink, sells a variety of little trinkets and has a few tables and chairs, creating a pleasant cafe atmosphere.
There is a picnic area (with several tables) next to a brick BBQ, which I imagine is used on bank holidays and other festive events. There is also a small adventure playground and a football net.
Well, so far so good; it all looks pretty pleasant and on a sunny Saturday, there were plenty of families ambling around. (I might mention there is ample parking; and if you drive to the bottom of the lane you will see a listed building that the council has lovingly, er, boarded up.)
There are signs urging you to wash your hands after handling animals (you'll be lucky!) and there is a small brick building containing toilets; the ladies were actually well stocked with soap etc, which is more than I heard about the men's.
The disappointing part of this farm is... the lack of animals. I'd hate to start harking on the about the good old days, but... in the early 1990s, when this farm was just getting established, there was a plethora of baby goats, a couple of ponies, lots of chickens and ducks, axis deer (the ones that look like Bambi even when fully grown), pot bellied pigs, and rabbits. Today I saw one goat (strokeable only through a fence) two pygmy goats in a far off field, impossible to see closely. There was a single sheep with 2 lambs (again, so far away that you couldn't even see them properly) and a lone deer (who ran away whenever anyone got within six feet of the fence of its enclosure).
A cheerful medley of pigs galloped towards us with obvious expectations of being fed, while a sadly lonesome pony grazed alone on the next field. In the next paddock were a couple of geese, a few chickens and ducks, a "pets corner" with a grand total of two rabbits, and a couple of aviaries with owls in them. All very nice, but if I mention that the signs identifying the breed of owl were pieces of A4 paper, slipped into plastic slimy wallets and freely adorned with mould, you will have an idea of the quality of this farm's aesthetics. There were also several empty enclosures.
You're not allowed in with many of the animals - perhaps they have been overwhelmed in the past by over excited children. (Although if there were a few more animals, maybe each one wouldn't be surrounded by at least one family, as we found when we were there.) It's not entirely clear where you're allowed and where you're not - we took our cue from others and avoided the fields that remained empty of people.
There is also a guide to the bats (perhaps less useful when your opening hours are 11am-5pm...?) and quite a lot of woodland to explore. You might want to be careful of the collapsing brick arrangement which has a sign to warn people off, but not much in the way of effort to clear it up.
When I googled the farm, I happened to see a video which claimed to have been taken in the summer of 2008, showing children bottle feeding lambs, playing with scores of kid goats and fluffy bunny rabbits. All I can say is; no matter what they lay on for the opening weekend of bank holidays; I was there this weekend and it was nothing like this.
All in all, I felt ripped off. This was a lovely little farm once upon a time, and with proper care and organisation, and a few more flipping animals, it could be again.