Days out in Pembrokeshire: Dyfed Shire Horse Farm review (3.5/5)
Farm animals and children's playgrounds
A great day out in Pembrokeshire for kids is to visit Dyfed Shire Horse Farm. The working farm has horses, calves, birds, pigs, kittens and also park attractions to entertain the younger ones.
The Dyfed Shire Horse Farm is set at the foot of the Preseli Mountains. It is surrounded with the imposing scenery of the sprawling Pembrokeshire hills. The farm itself is in Eglwywswrw, which is around a 20 minute drive from the ferry at Fishguard or around 30 minutes if you’re coming from Cardigan in the North.
A day out at the farm is great for families with young children. Most of the attractions scattered around the farm are aimed at this sort of age group.
However, the farm is an interesting day out for adults and those who are interested in horses.
The cost to visit the farm is £6.50 for adults of £5.50 for children or disabled people. Those under two are free. These seem to be fairly reasonable prices for what the farm has to offer.
Visitors to the farm are given when they enter a timetable of the day’s activities.
This is great for ensuring that the whole day is taken up with fun things to do. The days programme runs from 10.30 until 4pm – so make sure you arrive early to ensure nothing is missed.
There are a number of young calves on the farm and visitors are given the chance to bottle feed the young animals. This is really sweet and great for children and adults. The calves are kept in a shed on the farm and they can also be looked at petted throughout the day. However, it is well worth remembering to wash your hands after touching the calves. There are a number of places around the farm to sanitize hands including a room with water, sinks and soap.
One of the attractions for children is to go on a land train ride around the park. This is a simple train carriage that is driven around the park by a small vehicle once in morning and again in the afternoon.
The Dyfed Shire Horse Farm has a reputation for producing excellent horses. One of these actually went on to be bought in 2008 by the Household Cavalry. The dapple grey Shire horse called ‘Celt’ was selected as a potential drum horse and trained at Hyde Park barracks in central London. He later became a drum horse in 2010 and leads official parades through London.
Celt’s first official function was to lead the cavalry State Visit of the Emir of Qatar. He’s called a drum horse because two enormous drums weighing some 40 kilos are placed either side of his back and these are then hit by his rider. The drum horse goes in front of the other members of the cavalry during the parade.
The young girl working at the farm explained all about Celt during a demonstration of how working harnesses are fitted to shire horses. This took place in a stable inside one of the farm buildings and was interesting to watch.
They also gave a brief talk on the different types of heavy horses and some of their statistics. On some days, apparently there is a string band playing inside the stable.
Once the Shire horse, which on this occasion was called Sophie, had been fitted with her harness she was led out onto a nearby field and joined up with a carriage. Visitors were then able to have brief horse and cart rides around a small field.
Although it is fun to experienced a horse and cart ride these could have been longer. It is also difficult for disabled people to climb from the floor into the carriage.
At the time of our visit, there was a Shire horse mare who only 48 hours earlier had given birth to a young foal. The two horses were in a field on the farm and it was great to see the two of them and pet them. Children really enjoyed doing this.
There are several different Shire horses kept on the farm and its great to be able to look closely at them and pet them. There’s also a little bit of information printed outside their paddocks and stables. More could be done with the horses, such as a walking tour where children are given the chance to feed them. It is after all a Shire horse farm.
There are also birds of prey at the farm and in the afternoon there are a couple of shows where the birds are flown in a field. For children hooked on Harry Potter it’s great for them to see a barn owl in real life. For adults it’s interesting to listen to the talk about the birds and watch them take flight.
There is a second ride around the farm included in the visit. This time it is in a trailer being pulled by a tractor. Here, staff give a talk on the layout of the farm and some of its history.
A second harnessing demonstration of a shire horse takes place in the afternoon.
Although this time the horse is kitted out in its show harness for competitions. This is magnificent to see the dazzling colours and bright brass decorations that the horses wear at shows. Dyfed Shires do well in competitions and it’s easy to see why.
The farm also has attractions for children to play on while their parents can take a break on picnic benches. There’s a climbing frame, a trampoline, a small go-kart track and a couple of other small play things.
There’s also a three miles long nature trail that takes in some of the breath-taking scenery of the Preseli hills and also a crazy golf course which is free to use.
The staff at the farm are helpful and there’s a cafe (although this is slightly overpriced) and a small place to buy horse and pony souvenirs from.
Overall, the Dyfed Shire Horse Farm is a great day out for families with young children. There’s plenty to see although the farm could do more activities involving the Shire horses themselves. A visit here doesn’t have to take up the full day and there’s time after leaving the park to relax on one of Pembrokeshire’s fine beaches.
The Dyfed Shire Horse Farm is a great family day out in Pembrokeshire