Harwood Edge (Lords House Farm), Rishton

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Street: Wilpshire Road
Town: Rishton
Post Code: BB1 4AH
Aerial photo of the area of Harwood Edge Farm. (Picture from Google Earth). Map

"The farm is set in a 30 acre site containing farm buildings, accommodation, offices, stables and a small wildlife reserve which was created in the former Harper Clough Quarry, better known asStar Delph, which has a three million-year-old fossilised tree root that has led to the area being named a site of specific scientific interest protected by English Nature. "

Emu at Lords House An emu at Lords house farm after closure, seen here on the 11th March 2010.

Since 1993 when the farm became known as Lords House Farm, being taken over by Mary Walker, the farm was previously Harwood Edge Farm.

Upon taking the farm over, it was opened a children's rehabilitation centre, mainly for the disabled.

First published on Thursday 09 May 1996: It's animal magic!

FROM Llamas to pot-bellied pigs, a whole herd of unusual animals are about to make their home in Rishton.

The new animal park is about to take shape at Lord's House Farm, thanks to a £10,000 British Telecom community award. The cash will pay for a barn, exercise yard and stables for the farm's newest recruits. Disabled access and seating will also be improved and there will even be an "animal cuddle corner".


Mary Walker, the farm's administrator, said: "We have been running a therapy programme for local handicapped groups and special schools for 18 months but desperately needed somewhere to house the animals.

"The grant from BT has come at just the right time and we are grateful for their generosity. Now Animal Magic can operate all year round and with the improved disabled access, we can include all people, whatever their disability." She added: "We aim to bring a little magic into the lives of people who do not normally have contact with animals. Our experience so far has shown that this kind of educational work improves individuals' behaviour, enjoyment of life and feeling of self worth."

BT external relations manager Alan Roberts said: "The project application from Lord's House Farm was very professional and clearly aimed to fill a local need. It complements perfectly the disabled riding therapy work at the farm and will benefit large numbers of disabled people, of all ages, for a long time to come."

Taught by farm volunteers, visitors will learn to care for and understand the animals. At the end of a six-week course, they will receive a certificate of competence in recognition of their new skills.

From autumn this year, the new animal park will be available, free all year round, to special schools throughout Lancashire. Over 200 people each week were expected to benefit from the project.

Secrets of a garden

A SENSORY garden full of sounds and smells was being built to help the blind savour summer in bloom on Thursday 27 March 1997. The floral oasis, at Lords House Farm in Rishton, will consist of heavily-scented flowers and herbs, plants with textured leaves and carved wooden benches.

Named The Flight of the Bumble Bee, the project is the brainchild of farm owner Mary Eagles and crime prevention police officer Gail Whiteoak. Mary already ran horse riding classes for people with physical and learning disabilities at theWilpshire Road farm.

She said: "We wanted to develop the garden as a picnic area for the people learning to ride to have their lunch during summer. As some of them are blind, we wanted to adapt it into a vivid wealth of smells, sounds and texture. All the work is being done by a group of volunteers known as the Friends of Lords House Farm. The garden's features include a pond, picnic area, a pathway littered with thyme - so that when people walk on it the scent will escape - and wooden carvings of butterflies and bees."

Gail Whiteoak, based at Accrington Police Station, has been working with Great Harwood Youth Club to encourage youngsters to get involved in designing and putting together the garden. She said: "This is a wonderful project which will benefit people from all walks of life."

BNFL have already donated carved benches, Texas in Accrington has offered plants and flowers and the project has secured grants of £1,000 from the Community Council of Lancashire and £500 from Hyndburn Community Environment Fund.

Mary also organised a children's birthday party scheme to help raise funds for the centre and needed volunteers to co-ordinate the two-hour parties.

ANIMALS have been known to have a positive impact on the lives of children with special needs. Lords House Farm, uses this ethos to help children with behavioural and physical difficulties.

Richard Newton looked at the centre and discovered what it had to offer after it received £6,000 from the Gannett Foundation set up by the company that owns the Lancashire Evening Telegraph...

PETER is six-years-old and autistic. He visits Lords House Farm every Saturday to ride and look after the ponies. His mum Julie, 35, who lives in Haslingden, said she has seen a vast improvement since he started coming in March. She said: "He absolutely loves it, he really looks forward to coming. But the improvement we have seen in his balance has been remarkable. Because he has autism, he finds this difficult, but since he started riding this has come on tremendously, he can even skip now. His confidence has gone way up too. He has been in mainstream school and there he is one of the bottom ones. Because of this he has low confidence, but when he is at Lords House it goes way up. It's really good for us as well because we meet other parents in similar positions and we can have a chat. The workers there are also wonderful, they do not raise their voices or lose their temper and they understand about autism and do not look at you as though you can't control your child. Peter has also learned the concept of waiting when the ponies are being prepared for riding, which autistic children find very difficult to do."

Lords House Farm, offWilpshire Road, is a charitable organisation that provides animal therapy for children with special needs. But since Mary Walker started the centre in 1993 it has expanded well beyond this single service.

Manager Mrs Walker, said: "Animal therapy is a great way to reach children with behavioural and physical disabilities, but this is not all we do and we help a great many other people including the elderly, disadvantaged children and others through the youth offending team."

Lords House also offers full and part-time courses in horticulture, animal care and husbandry in conjunction with Accrington and Rossendale College, and is a UK online centre offering IT tuition.

The farm is set in a 30 acre site containing farm buildings, accommodation, offices, stables and a small wildlife reserve. It was created in the former Harper Clough Quarry, better known as Star Delph, and has a three million-year-old fossilised tree root that has led to the area being named a site of specific scientific interest protected by English Nature.

It now has 24 horses and a number of other animals ranging from rabbits to parrots and even llamas.

With these resources it is also able to offer holidays for disadvantaged children from urban backgrounds so that they can experience the countryside and see animals they may not have the opportunity to see.

The charity has a turnover of a quarter of a million pounds a year and receives funding from a variety of sources including BBC Children in Need and the European Social Fund. Through its partnership with Accrington and Rossendale College, it also gets money from the government via Lancashire Learning and Schools Council.

It receives money from the Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire Children's Fund to help socially disadvantaged and excluded children aged five to 13 and from the government set up Connexions to help 13 to 19-year-olds.

It also gets money to help with a number of projects including £6,000 from the Gannett Foundation, a charity set up by Gannett, the parent company of Newsquest, the media group that owns the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.

The centre received the money to buy a number a gypsy caravans to offer children the chance of camping out under the stars in an authentic gypsy caravan site.

Cherie backs £1m appeal

On Friday 5th May 2006, the farm launched its appeal to raise £1 million at a champagne reception hosted by the then Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair at 10 Downing Street. The farm was urged by Mrs Blair to "keep up the good work".

They started a campaign to raise £1 million over two years and the reception was a great way to launch that.

She agreed to host the event after meeting local entrepreneur Kevin Horkin, who is a trustee of the charity. Mr Horkin, who was the founder of Spex Opticians, said: "I originally asked her to become a patron. She said she was unable to do so, but said she would hold a reception for us and has been true to her word. We are starting a campaign to raise £1 million over two years and the reception was a great way to launch that. It was also a good way to raise the profile of Lords House Farm there is no other charity based in the North of England that has been given the chance to showcase what they do at the seat of power."

Mary Walker with Cherie Blair, Kevin Horkin right, and charity supporter Graham Walker

More than 40 guests, including the charity's patron William Roache MBE, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, attended the event.

Mary Walker, chief executive and founder of Lords House Farm, said: "We are very grateful to everyone who organised this wonderful event for us. It is extremely gratifying to realise that all the hard work and effort put into providing this invaluable facility is truly recognised and this event has been a great honour for us all. Hopefully, there will be some opportunity to promote the work even further as the main aim of the charity is to raise the quality of life for disabled and disadvantaged people in the North West and to do this we need a constant source of income.This was a great launch to our fund-raising appeal."

A number of fund-raising events were organised, including a charity ball towards the end of the year, but the charity was also appealing to local people to get involved and help it hit its £1 million target.

Baby llama steals the show

A BABY llama made an unusual addition to a Christmas nativity held to raise funds for a centre offering therapeutic services to those with special needs on Wednesday 20th December 2006.

The event attracted large crowds.

Visitors were able to visit Santa's grotto and see the real-life Nativity scene complete with donkeys, goats, sheep and Santos the baby llama, who was born earlier this month.

The money raised from ticket sales will help the farm fund a new therapy room for adults and children with learning difficulties.

Shut Down

It was announced in the local press on the 5th November 2009 that the farm had shut down. Mary Walker had decided to relocate the farm to Cumbria, after issues with planning permissions had been refused.

Gone but not forgotten, the road sign that pointed to Lords House Farm, formally Harwood Edge Farm, seen here on the 15th April 2010.