Pennywell Farm began as a bare field site with no buildings, grass, hedges or mains power. All the owners Chris and Nicky Murray had was a dream and the determination to never look back at their lives and say, “If only”.
Pennywell opened in May 1989, just 20 days after the birth of Chris and Nicky’s first child, Angus. It was staffed by Chris along with Nicky’s sister Fiona. There was one animal barn, a small shop and catering unit.
It was the first farm attraction in the country to introduce a hands on experience with animals and the first to introduce half hourly activities, a formula that has been repeated all over Britain.
Chris and Nicky insist that the secret of Pennywell’s success is straightforward and is all about their in their basic determination to stick at it.
Nicky explains: “There have been many setbacks and challenges over the years, particularly in the early nineties when interest rates soared. My advice to anyone with a dream is to believe in it and never give up.”
Having just enjoyed a busy Easter, Pennywell owners are looking ahead to the next 30 years.
Chris says: “Reaching this huge milestone makes me feel very humble. We have lovely visitors and I still experience the same joy seeing a child’s first real animal encounter as I did on Pennywell’s opening day”.
As Pennywell moves into the next 30 years, the next generation of the Murray family are gradually taking on more of the day to day running of the farm with young families of their own.