A warm welcome awaits you in the shadow of Hadrian's Wall

Meet the animals at Herding Hill Farm

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There are many reasons why our guests love returning to Herding Hill Farm – stargazing the wonderful Northumberland dark skies, the tranquillity of the surrounding countryside, our proximity to Hadrian’s Wall, our friendly and helpful wardens, Friday night pizzas, our outdoor hot tubs and our 5-star amenity block to name just a few. But we know that the main draw, particularly for our younger guests, is our animal petting farm. Herding Hill Farm is one of the few campsites in Northumberland with animals on site. Where possible we take on rescue animals to give them a home. 

At the moment animal feeding is suspended due to the pandemic but our wardens normally love to welcome the children for morning and afternoon feeding. That way they can get up close to the animals. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to interact with our hens, alpacas, rabbits, goats, guinea pigs, donkey, Shetland pony and kune kune piglets during your camping stay in Northumberland. Our campsite is peaceful and set back from any roads so the little ones are free to roam and visit the animal fields whenever they like. 

We thought you’d like to meet the animals 

Our Spice Girls 

Our hens aren’t named individually but are collectively known as the Spice Girls in that there are five of them. They are good egg layers and if guests are lucky, they may be given a fresh egg or two when passing. There is a small grain feeder at their pen. Here are some interesting facts about chickens you may not know: 

  • They love to sunbathe 
  • They have an amazing memory and are able to recognise people – watch them when any of our wardens walk past  
  • They see ultraviolet and iridescent light, so everything is much more colourful to them 

Our Rabbits

We have 2 rabbits currently in our campsite animal petting farm, having recently rescued a stray pet rabbit from Greenhead which has gone unclaimed. We’ve named her “Hou..she…ni” as she likes to gives our wardens the slip when they are feeding her! She joins Danny who has lived at Herding Hill Farm for some time. Some facts about rabbits: 

  • A male rabbit is called a buck and a female rabbit a doe, like deer
  • They can rotate their huge floppy ears to almost a full 270 degrees  
  • With eyes on the sides of their heads, they have 360-degree vision, useful for avoiding predators in the wild 

Our Goats

Our two goats Alvin and Aaron have been with us for many years and are often seen playfighting with their horns or headbutting the large ball in their field. They sometimes sleep on top of their shed. Did you know that: 

  • Mother and kid goats recognise each other’s calls as soon as the mother has given birth  
  • A goat giving birth is known as “kidding” just as a baby goat is known as a kid  
  • They dislike water and would leap over a stream rather than walk through it 

Our Guinea Pigs 

Hamilton and McGregor came to Herding Hill Farm in 2019 and are some of our newest additions. Did you know that guinea pigs: 

  • Are not pigs
  • they are rodents  
  • Eat their own poo  
  • Are vegan 

Our Alpacas 

One of the most recognisable signs at Herding Hill is our 3 alpacas Mambo, Knight and Minstrel standing on top of their rocky outcrop, silhouetted against the evening light. We regularly get people driving past stopping and taking photographs. Again, the three alpacas at Herding Hill Farm like to play fight with each other, often entangling their necks. They have funny teeth and it can give you quite a fright when they “smile” at you. They don’t have any teeth in their top front mouth. They love coming to the gate to greet our guests. 

People often call them llamas, but a llama is a different South American animal. Alpacas are normally smaller, with small, blunt faces and short ears. A llama face is elongated and they have banana-shaped ears.  

Some things you may not know about alpacas: 

  • There are only two breeds of alpaca in the world, with approximately 90% of alpacas being the huacaya breed  
  • They are vegetarian and typically eat less than a guinea pig over the course of the day  
  • Alpacas typically live for 20 years or more 

Our Shetland Pony 

Robin is a regular sight for our dog walkers, as his field runs alongside the path fence and he regularly wanders over for a nosy. Robin is a beautiful Auburn Shetland Pony who shares the donkey field and amazingly gets on really well with the donkey Coco. Shetland ponies were originally used down the coal mines when the use of children was outlawed and are one of the oldest breeds. They have a double coat which protects them from the cold, perfect for when the cold Northumberland wind is whipping up the Herding Hill valley. 

  • UK Shetland ponies cannot be taller than 11 hands 
  •  They can be any colour except spotted  
  • They live a long life – typically around 30 years 

Our Donkey

Coco is one of the noisiest residents at Herding Hill Farm, particularly if he sees any of our wardens just before feeding time. He also likes to call our guests over to ensure they don’t forget he is there. He is a sociable animal and regularly allows guests to stroke him at his gate. Until 2020 we had another donkey Barney who sadly passed away. Whilst donkeys typically live in pairs, Coco and Robin our Shetland pony get on so well we have decided to leave them together for the time being. Donkeys can be a calming influence on other animals and are very clever, with a keen sense of curiosity. 

  • A donkey is far stronger than a horse of the same size  
  • They can see all four of their feet at the same time  
  • Healthy donkeys can live well into their 50s 

Our Pigs 

Frequent visitors to Herding Hill Farm will fondly remember Bubble, our huge KuneKune (pronounced “cooney cooney”) pig. Campers close to his field would often be able to hear him snore. Sadly, Bubble passed away in 2020, but we have two new KuneKune piglets that are already a firm favourite with our young guests. Called Chilli and Ginger they are settling in well and growing fast. They love being tickled by our wardens. Whether they grow as large as Bubble did remains to be seen! KuneKune is a New Zealand breed of pig. 

  • KuneKunes are grazers, not foragers like most pigs, and can live on grass alone 
  •  KuneKune means “fat and round” in Maori  
  • They are known as miniature pigs although anyone who met Bubble would question that! 

If you are looking for a campsite with an animal petting farm or a child-friendly campsite in Northumberland we think you will have a wonderful time at Herding Hill Farm, so why not BOOK A STAY with us now?