An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Hall Farm Rescue & Rehoming Centre
World Horse Welfare
Ada Cole Avenue
Tel: 01953 499100
A first class centre for all horse lovers to see over 100 horses, learn about good horse care and take part in all things equestrian – please support this excellent charity.
Where to find it
Located in beautiful Norfolk countryside, you’ll find Hall Farm down a quiet lane about half a mile from the A11. There are brown tourist signs for World Horse Welfare between Attleborough and Thetford so it’s not hard to find, or take the back roads and enjoy some very relaxed and pretty scenery en route. On arrival there’s a large car park and the visitors centre and viewing stables nearby are accessible for wheelchair users. It’s clear as soon as you enter the grounds that everyone who works here has a real passion for keeping this place a centre of excellence, the outcome of which is not only an amazing charity doing exceptional work for horse welfare but also a great day out.
What to expect
An international horse charity, Hall Farm is the largest of four such centres around the country that was opened in 2003 by their president, The Princess Royal. In 500 acres of grounds (250 acres of which are paddocks), 16 grooms plus volunteers run this working farm with a manager, Sue, a rehoming co-ordinator, Cathy, and a visitor centre officer, Maxine. Their hard work, dedication and efficiency are visible at every turn. Their goal is to create a world where every horse is treated with respect, compassion and understanding and their mission statement: to improve the lives of as many horses as they can through education, campaigning and hands-on care. The centre is run entirely on donations and legacies so your visit and support will really make a difference.
What can you do here?
Coming here for a day out is an enjoyable experience whether you’re a horse fanatic or not. You’ll find an indoor arena from which to watch jumping and dressage events once a month plus observe the horses being rehabilitated. Large viewing windows mean you can have a coffee and snack in the cafe whilst watching. There’s an outdoor arena too, again conveniently situated next to picnic tables where you can bring your own food to munch. Within this section is also a large children’s play area.
There’s an education room with a life size horse and interesting display boards giving details of their campaigns and rescue bids explaining conditions horses suffer from and such forth, whilst outside you are free to spend as many hours as you wish wandering around the paddocks visiting the horses. It really is a pleasant stroll and you can get close enough to pet them which children, and adults alike, will love. In the stables you’ll meet some characters; on my visit I was lucky enough to say hello to the gorgeous India who was rescued and rehabilitated, and Brandy and Stan who simply adore being groomed for hours on end, making them perfect for children’s parties which the centre holds for a minimum of eight children at £10 a head. During the summer holidays the kids will also love the tractor trailer rides and other ‘Wacky Wednesday’ pursuits, plus dog shows on some Sundays – details on their website.
Rehab, rehome and campaign
There is no charge for visiting the centre but please leave a donation for all the work that’s being done here. The charity rescues horses that are living under terrible conditions and are often emaciated or obese, both of which cause significant problems such as laminitis, a foot complaint that is extremely painful. In 2013 the centre rescued 63 horses from one animal hoarder alone that were all in great need of care and attention. With an official figure of 104 horses at any one time, the centre is spilling over with animals in need of their help. Every one of them will be rehabilitated and rehomed, finding sanctuary for all the non-ridden companion horses too.
The charity also campaign for horse welfare abroad; at the moment they are hugely concerned by the transportation of horses for slaughter. They also visit lesser developed countries and educate workers by teaching them about foot care and help them to build suitable harnesses from locally made materials, improving the lives of work horses tremendously.
Don’t delay, visit today
When you combine the exceptional work that is being done, with the enjoyment a day out here brings to the whole family, it really is a winning formula. They’re off the beaten tourist track and as a result don’t always get the foot fall they deserve, so please pay them a visit and spread the word; together we can really make a difference.
The farm is open to visitors on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with extra activities during school holidays. Children’s parties include food, pony grooming and horse related craft activities. The centre has conference facilities and can do educational sessions. There is also a small shop selling horse related products. Adopt a Horse is £15 for three months. If you are interested in rehoming a horse please contact the centre directly. Dressage is the first Saturday of every month and jumping is the first Sunday.
Look out for the latest event days at Hall Farm in our What’s On section.