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When they were digging the Millwall Dock, in the mid 1800’s a mud chute was used and the waste material from the digging was transposed to this site, hence the name Mudchute Park and Mudchute Farm. It is the biggest urban farm in Europe. It is much bigger than the other farm I visited in East London, Spitalfields City Farm, but unlike that one Mudchute concentrates more on animals rather than plants and vegetable.
The land was originally to be used for high rise housing in the early 70’s but public outcry put a stop to this and the land released as a people’s park. In 1977 the Mudchute Association was formed to develop and promote the area as well as starting to introduce the animals. It is now a valuable educational facility for schools and as well as the farming aspect, has an equestrian school where horse riding lessons may be arranged for a fee. The Mudchute Association is a registered charity.
The Centre caters for all riders, children and adults, from beginners to advanced level, with a range of horses and ponies to suit all needs including medium level dressage. All horses and ponies can jump.
Riding lessons are available as both group and private lessons depending on individual requirements.
Group riding lessons are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday. Prices are available at the Mudchute Farm website.
The Mudchute Equestrian Centre is a Centre Member of the National Pony Club. This enables children, who do not own their own pony, but ride regularly, to participate in Pony club activities. These include training and studying for their Efficiency Tests and Badges, Riding and Road Safety, Stable Management along with social events, competitions and lots of good fun!
The first thing that struck me was the size of the place, it is quite large. As it was a fairly quiet day there it was peaceful as well. I don’t know if this is usually the case. There is a very large section of grass where the sheep and cows were roaming loose and I should imagine that on a clear sunny day there would be some excellent shots of the Canary Wharf complex.
The kids can mingle with the animals here and they seem quite used to it as they just carry on grazing. In fact, until they actually pluck up the courage to get near them, the grandchildren seemed more afraid of the animals than visa versa!
There is quite a large selection of animals and birds on the farm, both large and small. Unfortunately we chose a bad time to visit and many were unavailable to be seen. The ones we did see seemed happy enough although some sort of goose had managed to get into the Guinea Pig enclosure and was giving them a hard time. I also saw the largest rabbit I have ever seen in my life there but unfortunately was unable to get a photo. I’ll expand a bit on this subject when I pay another visit but in the meantime here’s a fairly small Mudchute Farm photo gallery >>
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