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Witney farm can offer more after £100,000 revamp
COGGES Manor Farm will open for the summer season with new play areas and trails following a £100,000 revamp.
The Witney tourist attraction has been closed for the winter but will reopen with a family fete this month.
Volunteers have been busy creating new play areas, revamping the entrance and creating a venue for weddings and events.
Director Colin Shone said: “This is going to be a very exciting year for Cogges.”
Cogges Manor Farm won planning permission in January to revamp the site and has been working to get it ready for the opening.
The courtyard has been resurfaced and old play equipment has been replaced with a new climbing frame, trailer and tractor.
A Norman moat surrounding two islands has been excavated and walks and an adventure trail have been created on one of the islands.
It is hoped an adventure playground modelled on a 12th century manor house on the other island will also be ready for the opening.
The playground will include a climbing frame, basket swing, balance beams, slide, rope bridge and zip wire.
But, depending on the findings of an archaeological dig at the site and the weather, the play area may be delayed and open later this spring.
Mr Shone said: “It has been a long-held ambition to open up access to the moat and the island. We believe the trails and the play area will encourage many more people to enjoy the beauty of this heritage site.
“Cogges is a great place to relax and to have fun and the new additions will enhance that experience.”
The new-look Cogges will also feature a soft play area in one of the site’s barns, as well as outdoor games, face-painting and bread-making.
Cogges has also won permission to change the use of part of the site to create a venue for concerts, plays, wedding receptions and markets.
The £100,000 revamp was backed by English Heritage and funded through the Witney Educational Fund and local businesses.
The grand opening on Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, will feature a family fete and a chance for children to meet the animals.
The fete will include traditional games such as a coconut shy, splat the rat, hook a duck, tombola, lucky dip, piñata and welly wanging.
Cogges’ new animals this season include a Shetland pony, pygmy goats, Cotswold sheep, Oxford sandy and black pigs, ducks and chickens.
The site will open from 11am to 5pm on both days. For more information, call 01993 772602 or visit cogges.org.uk