In The Spotlight: Hall Hill Farm

Hall Hill Farm have been operating since 1925 and are a family run business. The award winning, 700 acre farm is fun for all the family. Based in Lanchester, Durham, there are a multitude of activities to partake in and many animals to see. Although the farm temporarily closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has now reopened as of July 18th and is welcoming visitors back on a pre-book basis with a limited capacity. When speaking to owner Richard Darlington, he told us that, “we have limited numbers in two sessions per day from 10-1 and then 2-5. We take 200 people per session so 400 per day.” Hall Hill farm usually take approximately 1,000 visitors on a usual Summer’s day but of course have had to reduce this in order to accommodate social distancing.

Richard said that he feels fortunate that his business is predominately outdoors, “hand washing is bread and butter to us anyways due to being on a farm. We have 25 hand washing stations on site, however we have also added extra hand gel facilities”

In 2001, Hall Hill Farm were effected by the Hand, Foot and Mouth outbreak, “we lost everything. We couldn’t see anyone, we were closed for a year and it felt like there was no end in sight”

After going through this and coming out the other side, Richard and his farm were able to remain positive during the COVID-19 closure, “We’re always prepared for something like this after dealing with the Hand Foot and Mouth Outbreak, you just never know what’s round the corner. We’ve been comfortable, everything we make goes back into our business, we don’t live lavish lifestyles”

During the four month closure, Richard told us that he was able to get a lot of jobs done that they would not normally have the chance to do, “I now have a 1.5 million reach on social media which I would never have been able to do without the lockdown and the extra time. We also had great family time but I’m so glad that we’re back up and running. I’ve remained positive throughout”

Unfortunatley, the indoor soft play area of the farm is unable to open as of yet due to government guidance still restricting these facilities, however Richard said that due to it being the Summer, it hasn’t made too much of an impact, “We’ve also kept the cafe closed for now as we didn’t feel adequate social distancing could take place. We want to protect our visitors and our staff, our staff are like family as many of them have been with us for over twenty five years”


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