Please find below statements from the Acton Family and Shropshire Council regarding the future of the Historic Working Farm.

A statement from the Acton family on the situation concerning Acton Scott Historic Working Farm:

We are very grateful for the many letters, messages and emails that have been sent to us regarding the future of the Farm. 

Shropshire Council has a lease agreement with the Acton Scott Estate which stipulates that the site should be run as a historic working farm, and we are obviously disappointed that the continuation of this arrangement is under threat. However, we do appreciate that Council resources are particularly constrained at this time, and we have agreed to support the public consultation which we understand will commence shortly. Shropshire Council has established an email address for this purpose: [email protected]

Whatever the eventual outcome, we are determined that the essence of the Farm, founded by Tom and Lucy Acton in collaboration with Shropshire County Council over 45 years ago, should be preserved and continued. We know that so many visitors over that period have benefitted from their vision, and in some cases that experience has been life-changing. The support demonstrated by the ‘Friends of Acton Scott Farm Museum’ Facebook Group may perhaps be able to be harnessed into a new model for the operation and financing of the site into the future. However, until Shropshire Council has determined their position – which we expect to occur after the public consultation – the Acton Scott Estate is constrained from making any decisions on the future.

Again, we would like to thank all those who are contributing their ideas, and we truly hope that a successful future can be secured.

Francis and Alison Acton

Acton Scott Hall and Estate - www.actonscott.com

A statement from Shropshire Council on the situation concerning Acton Scott Historic Working Farm:

"Plans are being made for people to share their views over the future of Acton Scott Historic Working Farm in the new year.

Shropshire Council, which has been operating the museum as a tenant since the 1970s, will be hosting discussions about the future of the attraction following its temporary closure in June 2021 due to an E.coli outbreak.

Since the closure the council has commissioned a number of reviews of the site including health and safety, repairs and maintenance and staffing. Further staff training and the need for further investment in the site has also been identified.

The working farm museum was the vision of Thomas Acton who established a museum demonstrating farming techniques at the turn of the century before the advent of the internal combustion engine.

Visitor numbers peaked at around 45,000 in 2009 with the advent of the BBC’s ‘Victorian Farm’ television show but fell sharply the following year and have been in steady decline since. With an average of only 20,000 visitors per annum since 2014 and an operating deficit of £168,000 per annum, the Shropshire taxpayer has been subsidising the running costs of the farm at a cost of £8.40 per person.

Shropshire Council, like many other local authorities, is facing an extremely challenging financial future and it is in this climate that an options appraisal has been undertaken to determine whether an alternative commercially viable model is achievable at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm. The council has kept the Acton family informed during this process.

Clare Featherstone, Shropshire Council’s head of culture, leisure and tourism, said:

“Shropshire Council recognises the value Acton Scott holds for many people and is committed to supporting the landowners and the local community over the coming months and we look forward to hearing thoughts and suggestions when we open discussion in the new year.”

Francis Acton, for the Acton Scott Estate, added:

 “It is clear that there is a large community who have a great affection for the historic working farm. The Acton family will support the consultation and work with Shropshire Council to explore future options.”

Anyone wanting to feedback can email: [email protected]

A report will be taken to Shropshire Council’s Cabinet for decision in spring 2022." ENDS

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Situated in the estate’s 18th century Home Farm buildings, Acton Scott’s Historic Working Farm is a wonderful visitor attraction for all the family to enjoy.

Conceived by Thomas Acton more than a generation ago to keep alive the 19th century farming practices he grew up with, the farm was the first of its kind and has been much copied since. Tom's foresight has helped to preserve many traditions that might otherwise have been lost to modern day farming techniques.

Today, the Historic Working Farm offers a fascinating insight into rural life at the turn of the 19th century, as farm life unfolds daily and the land around is worked by heavy horses. There are daily demonstrations of period skills and visits from the Wheelwright, Farrier and Blacksmith, providing a picture of life as it might have been on a Victorian country estate.

The Old School, originally built by Frances Stackhouse Acton in the late 19th century to educate the children of the Parish, has been recently restored and is now a charming cafe. It serves home cooked hot and cold meals, snacks and drinks. There is a gift shop and special events throughout the open season.

A programme of traditional craft and trade courses to learn about the forgotten skills of the past runs throughout the year. 

The Historic Working Farm is managed and funded by Shropshire Council. For more information please email [email protected] or telephone 01694 781 307. You can also read the latest news and updates on Facebook.

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