Farming family opens alpaca centre in Dry Doddington
A unique farming family in Dry Doddington have opened the first alpaca education centre and cafe in Lincolnshire, where visitors can meet and greet the woolly creatures.
Martin and Clare Stanger submitted plans earlier this year to expand their farm in Dry Doddington, north of Grantham, to build a shop, a cafe and a place for people to learn more about the animals.
After the plans were accepted, the centre opened to the public last month and is already attracting visitors from far and wide.
The couple, who run the centre with the help of their son James and daughter Jessica, bought their first alpacas in 2005 as an attempt to diversify their farming business.
They now have in excess of 90 alpacas aged between eight months and 21 years old, making it one of the largest herds of alpacas in the country.
They boast all the 22 recognised colours including black, white, fawn, greys and various multi-colours.
The couple, who trade as J andJ Alpacas, regularly attend various shows, ploughing matches and other events, as well as running a successful and growing knitwear business created using the fleeces from their breeding herd.
The knitwear sales derive from attending weekly events from August to Christmas and online sales throughout the year.
Daughter Jessica said: “We have been selling knitwear for the past 12 years.
“We sell it from our shop, online and at various craft fairs throughout the year but we are excited that buyers will now have the opportunity to come and see where it has been made.”
Since opening last month, the centre, which allows visitors to sit in the cafe where they can buy a selection of beverages including hot drinks and cakes and look out at all the alpacas, has been attracting visitors from all over.
Jessica added: “Everyone loves the view from the cafe.
“We are looking forward to welcoming even more visitors.”