Current Projects > Heritage Farm

Heritage Farm

Farming plays a vital part in all our lives; without it, the world couldn’t sustain itself. It also contributes to diverse landscapes, wildlife habitats and creates jobs in rural areas, sustaining communities. We want to create a new Heritage Farm at the heart of our site to be a centre for conservation and education about our rural heritage, our food, and where it comes from.

*** April 2018 update: We have raised £36,000 from the public towards the costs of the new animal enclosures, orchard and tools, but are still seeking support towards the new building, paths and roadway. ***

What are we doing?

A new orchard: We will plant an area of the site with fruit trees which played an important role in local food production and create a traditional poultry orchard. Visitors will be able to walk through and see free-range Ixworth chickens, Appleyard ducks and pygmy goats among fruit trees. We will deliver the new orchard in collaboration with Orchards East.

Local breeds: We already look after heritage breeds and want to do more conservation work with local animals and plants, including the Suffolk Punch horse and Red Poll cow, both native to East Anglia and on the at risk Watchlist.

Crops: Knowing where our food comes from and how it impacts upon our environment is important. But can you tell your wheat from your barley? A four-course crop rotation, critical to improving soil and managing pests, was popularised by East Anglian farmers like ‘Turnip’ Townshend in the 18th century. We will plant crops to help us show our visitors the importance of this heritage.

Demonstrations and heritage farming: Using Suffolk Punch horses and our working collection of historical farm machinery, we will demonstrate traditional techniques and involve visitors where possible.

Barn: A barn building will allow us to offer shelter for year-round school visits and family sessions to help children learn about farming and animal care. It will also provide an appropriate space for lambing and milking, and storage for hay and feed.

Conservation: Our Burrell ploughing engines are the only known pair believed to exist, built in 1879. We want to restore them to bring them back to life, and help a new generation to have hands-on experience of steam.

Learning: Through hands-on sessions focused on animal welfare and where food comes from, we will help ensure that the heritage of farming and animal care is passed on to future generations.

Social impact work: The museum runs work-based skills learning programmes for unemployed people, green therapy to support mental health and supported volunteering for people with disabilities. The Heritage Farm will create new opportunities for involving people, including beekeeping and dairy management.

Family area: We want to replace our aging play area with modern equipment and create a seating space, providing an important community amenity.

When will we do this?

We have been fundraising towards the project and intend to implement it in the winter of 2018-19.

How can you help?

Volunteering: we need people to help prepare the ground, renew fences and hedges and get involved with the care of animals. This will take place from October 2018 to March 2019. If you are interested and able to help, please email

Donate: any donation, however small, will help us make a difference.

£5                    For the price of lunch, you can buy an Appleyard duck for the museum

£20                  Will feed our sheep for a week

£50                  Will buy an infrared lamp to keep our new-born lambs warm

£100                Will buy fencing for our animal area

£5,000             Will allow us to create new paths which are wheelchair and buggy-friendly

£20,000           Will allow us to refurbish our unique pair of ploughing engines

£30,000           Will allow us to employ and train someone to work our heavy horses

£40,000           Will allow us to build a new barn building

Donors of over £250 will be invited to a celebratory event at the museum.

To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact the museum on or 01449 612229

Fundraise: If you are able to set up your own coffee morning, plant sale or sponsored run to raise money for our anniversary appeal, we can help with a fundraising pack. Please contact the museum on for details.