Family-run farm park moo-ving closer to re-opening after Covid-19 disruption
A Cardross-based farm is set to launch a new five-hectare attraction after Covid-19 postponed the opening by 12 months.
Monty’s Farm Park, the latest addition to the Ardardan Estate, will feature a new bespoke indoor play area, a café, an outdoor woodland play park and animal contact area where visitors can interact with pygmy goats, sheep, pigs and cows.
The new attraction will offer families a fun day out in a natural environment and will add to the garden centre, garden nursery, tearoom and farm shop that has been operating on the Argyll & Bute estate since 1997.
The Montgomery family had developed ‘Monty’s Farm Park’ with the aid of a seven-figure development funding loan from Bank of Scotland and planned to open to visitors in late March last year.
But when Covid-19 hit, Ardardan Estate had to close its doors and furlough all 50 members of its team and put the opening on hold. However, the firm created a new delivery service that sold fruit and vegetables and hampers to the local community to support income while the park was closed.
The business is now able to welcome visitors from the local area and bring members of staff back from furlough.
Sue Aikman, who owns Ardardan Estate along with her sister, mum and dad: "The past twelve months have been incredibly tough for everyone. It has been frustrating not to open our new farm park venture but, throughout, we’ve been planning for the worst and hoping for the best - knowing we have so much scope when we can open up to welcome families back.“
“The support from Bank of Scotland allowed us the breathing room needed to keep the business operating while we waited to hear from the Scottish Government about when it would be safe for us to reopen. Having been allowed to open our doors at Easter, it has been all hands on deck making sure everything is safe to welcome everyone back.
“At first we will have a limited number of visitors, but we can’t wait to welcome local families and children back to Ardardan Estate to enjoy what we think is a really unique and special outdoor and, eventually indoor, space".
Stewart McNaughton, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, said: “Ardardan Estate is a great example of a business that has adapted and demonstrated incredible resiliency over the past year. Despite the business having to postpone its opening, it’s now in a strong position to take advantage of the crucial tourism season.”