Cotebrook celebrated the opening of its new all-weather walkways with a tour led by owner Alistair King.
The honour of cutting the ribbon was given to Abbie Ellis age 9 from Runcorn, who was celebrating her birthday and the visit to Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre was a surprise birthday treat as she loves horses and has visited several times.
The New Visitor Walkways aim to increase visitor numbers in less clement conditions, in particular pushchair, wheelchair and motor scooter access. In addition, people will be encouraged to see Cotebrook’s foals born early in the year and encourage return visits during the summer months.
The creation of the New Visitor Walkways would not have been possible without the support of the Cheshire LEADER Programme managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council. The LEADER Programme is a unique source of funding for rural areas across Cheshire which we heard about thanks to Katrina Michel the Chief Executive of Marketing Cheshire. By supporting Rural Tourism Cotebrook were lucky enough to receive 40% grant towards our New Visitor Walkways from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
Cotebrook sent a survey to its members and social media followers and discovered that 32% of people visit with people with mobility issues and 62% are families with small children. It was also discovered that over 90% of people surveyed would visit more frequently as a result of the walkways.
Cotebrook is unique in that they are the only Shire Horse Stud Farm open to the public in the UK and one of the very few small visitor attractions in Cheshire open all year round.
This project will develop the visitor experience further afield to see around 20 Shire Horses. It will allow access all year round and enable less abled visitors to go further afield than just the farmyard. The new hardcore walkways will open up this part of the beautiful Cheshire Countryside to more visitors.