Toddler is a bit obsessed with chicks, piglets and lambs at the moment. He has no idea just how adorable he is saying “aww, cute baby, cute baby” as he looks at them, and so last week, with his big brother and sister now back at school after the Easter holidays we headed to Greenmeadow Community Farm in Cwmbran for the day, just the two of us.
A half hour drive down the M4 from Cardiff, Greenmeadow has been a working farm for 250 years. In the late 1980s, a group of locals saved it from being turned into a development site and it’s now a community farm where visitors can learn more about farming and have hands-on experiences with animals.
We’ve visited a few times over the years and have always been impressed with the lovely grounds of the farm, the animals living there, plus the range of additional activities for visitors at no extra cost.
I’ve been meaning to go to their Baby and Toddler Tuesdays for years and, last week, with no other plans for the day, and the sun shining, Toddler and I dropped the big two to school and made a spontaneous visit.
We got there at around 10.30am, parking in the onsite car park, and buying a bag of animal feed for 80p along with our entrance fees.
Toddler loves the outdoor play area at Greenmeadow, so we spent the first hour there. He especially likes the wooden tractor he can climb up into, and slide down, as well as the mud kitchen, sand pit and mini race track for ride on tractors.
This play area is more for the younger children, but there’s another area at the bottom of the farm park for the older kids. This area is also home to the huge dragon, which was a feature at the Garden Festival of Wales at Ebbw Vale back in 1992. On peak visiting days, it spouts water from its mouth.
Greenmeadow’s Baby and Toddler Tuesdays see a range of activities for youngsters, ranging from baby sensory and music to arts and crafts and outdoor nature sessions. Toddler had no interest in the arts and crafts and was too old for the baby sensory session, but it seemed packed with mums and little ones. Many of them are local and take advantage of annual membership to the farm, attending the toddler day most weeks.
Greenmeadow is home to lots of different animals. The main barn is full of cows, goats, sheep and pigs – and currently lambs and piglets. There are donkeys on the side of the hill, chickens in their own coop, and horses at the bottom of the farm. There’s an area for rabbits and guinea pigs, which children are also able to pet in the Cuddle Corner at set times of the day.
The duck pond near the entrance is currently covered in mesh wire to protect the birds from the spread of bird flu, according to government advice.
We loved the exotic animal session. We got to get meet an African land snail, a 25-year-old tortoise called Maggie, a bearded dragon lizard, some chinchillas and degus. When we’ve attended these sessions previously, they’ve been held in the education room, and there have been way more creatures to meet and more chances to hold them. Understandably on toddler day, the event was not so interactive, but it was still a great chance to learn more about some of the farm’s more unusual residents. It was held in the same room as the incubators, currently filled with eggs waiting to hatch and beautiful fluffy baby chicks.
Tractor rides also run free of charge on toddler days and other peak times, taking you around the farm’s fields, where you can learn more about the animals living there.
When we’ve visited at weekends and bank holidays, there has been a full schedule of activities, including pond dipping, milking demonstrations and more. It’s worth checking their website for details of what’s going on.
A few things to keep in mind. The farm is on sloped land, so although the paths are buggy-friendly, it can be a bit scary pushing a heavy pram down the hill, and hard work getting it back up again! The Cwtch Café is also a bit tricky if you have a buggy as the seating areas are down a few stairs, although there is also outdoor seating too. The food here is lovely, I might add! On toddler days, there’s a buggy park near the main entrance, which was being well used when we visited.
Also, just a word of warning if you are using sat nav – use the postcode NP44 3XQ, rather than the farm’s actual postcode.
Greenmeadow Farm, Greenforge Way, Cwmbran NP44 5AJ. Open daily from 1st February to 23rd December, 10am-5pm (closing early on 31st October for Halloween activities).
£5.95 for adults, £4.85 for children, £4.85 for concessions, family 2+3 £21, under 2s free
Tesco Clubcard Exchange vouchers can be used on general entry but not on yearly passes.