Rhea-lly fun

A TRIO of rheas reared at Billingley are the latest attraction at a Barnsley farm.

Along with other creatures, such as geckos and chipmunks, the rheas, from the ostrich family, are a favourite with families.

Three generations of Jonathan Charlesworth’s family have worked the 60 acres of land at Broad Close Farm, but he chose to diversify to safeguard his farm’s future.

The farm specialises in rearing rare and traditional breeds of pigs, cows, and sheep, and has a farm shop, coffee shop and new pet store. Its pets’ corner is home to an expanding collection of more unorthodox animals.

Business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley is helping Jonathan and wife Nicola to raise their profile, especially to visitors from outside their local area.

Jonathan said: “We offer something different in terms of the meat we sell, but also the experience for our visitors as we don’t charge admission to see our animals.

“The recession has had an effect on visitor spending so we’re really hoping that the new pet shop and other plans will encourage families to come along this spring. We hope to offer educational visits as we believe that children and adults should be aware of what they eat and how it’s been produced.”

Jonathan’s grandfather John first bought the farm, on Cone Lane, in 1957 and then dad Philip took over. Jonathan and Nicola, who have two sons, Brook, 11, and Joel, three, built the farm shop in 2007 and the farm moved from mixed farming to specialising in the rearing of Tamworth pigs and Dexter cattle.

The pets’ corner is home to the breeding trio of rheas which can be seen by visitors, along with a wide array of other animals and birds, from chipmunks and ferrets, to ducks, geckos and rescued mule Molly. A barn owl and red squirrels will also soon be moving in. Small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs bred on the farm, are available to buy.