Heritage Farm

50th Anniversary Appeal

Can you help us?

In 1967, the founders of the museum had a vision to save the farming heritage of East Anglia. In the museum’s 50th year we are launching a project to honour this vision, focusing on presenting and preserving the living heritage of the region.

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.

What will we do?

Heritage Breeds

We already look after rare 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.



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 our Suffolk Punch horses and a working collection of historical farm machinery, we will be able to demonstrate traditional techniques and involve visitors where possible.


Fruit trees

Rather than penning our poultry, we will plant an area of the site with fruit trees and create a traditional poultry orchard. Visitors will be able to walk through and see free-range Ixworth chickens and Appleyard ducks.



A barn building will allow us to offer 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.



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.



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.


Visitor toilets

We want to replace our inadequate toilets with permanent ones at the centre of the site, including appropriate facilities for disabled adults and children with a Changing Places toilet.


Welfare facilities for volunteers

We want to build a changing room with showers for volunteers working with animals on the estate.


Why do we need your help?


More people are using museums but traditional funding is falling fast. As an independent museum we have to charge entry but this only pays for a small percentage of what it costs to keep going. This is why we are asking for your help. It takes a lot of time, money and hard work to care for our animals and our farming collection. We do it because we think preserving heritage breeds and demonstrating traditional farming is important – and because we think you might believe it’s important too. Support our museum and together we can tell the story of farming and heritage breeds in East Anglia.


What will your money buy?


Any donation, however small, will help us make a difference.

£5                    For the price of a sandwich and coffee, you can buy an Appleyard duck for the museum

£20                  Will feed our Suffolk Punch horses for a week

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

£100                Will buy fencing for our animal area

£350                Will buy the trees for our orchard

£500                Will pay our vet’s bills for a year

£2,500             Will allow us to commission a blacksmith to make an ornamental sign for the new Heritage Farm, showcasing the best of East Anglian craftsmanship

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

£10,000           Will allow us to build a Changing Places toilet for disabled adults

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

£25,000           Will help us to completely replace the children’s play area

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

£60,000           Will allow us to employ and train someone to work our heavy horses for three years


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


To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kate Axon, Development Director

kate.axon@eastanglianlife.org.uk or 01449 618 224.


Fundraise for us

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 Kate Axon on kate.axon@eastanglianlife.org.uk for details.


Did you know?

A recent YouGov poll found that 72% of those surveyed felt they knew little or nothing about farming, and yet it is all around us, occupying 75% of UK land.

Food self-sufficiency is now 61% (it was 75% in 1991). How will the UK feed itself in the future?

Between 1900 and 1973 the UK lost 26 of its native breeds.


Heritage Breeds


We already look after rare breeds and want to do more conservation work with local animals and plants.

 Suffolk Punches are the oldest breed of heavy horse to exist in its present form. There were great numbers of Suffolk horses before the First World War, however their numbers have seriously declined since then with the introduction of mechanisation.



Red Poll cows were bred in the 19th century from the Norfolk Red and the Suffolk Dun. It is declining breed in Britain and is on the endangered list.




Suffolk sheep are the third member of the ‘Suffolk Trinity’ – the three animals critical to the success of agriculture in the region.




The Large Black Pig is the only British pig which is entirely black, and was bred by combining local black pigs from the West Country and the East of England. Numbers declined after the Second World War and it was almost extinct by the 1960s.




The Ixworth chicken was created in the 1930s by Reginald Appleyard of Suffolk who also bred the Silver Appleyard Duck. The plumage of the Ixworth is pure white. In the 1970s, the breed almost disappeared. It recovered gradually but is still classified as rare.




Reginald Appleyard’s ambition was to create a very attractive breed of large duck that would also be a prolific producer of eggs. Appleyard ducks are a rare breed.

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