AMY Armitage-Reay of The Woolly Farm is really passionate about alpacas and says even the most sceptical of visitors are won over by them!

Amy, who runs The Woolly Farm with her husband Dan Armitage, said: “A big part of what we do at The Woolly Farm is about education. We want people to understand more about these adorable creatures, and share our knowledge about them.

“They are such peaceful, relaxing creatures that it can’t help but rub off on you.”

Amy and Dan founded The Woolly Farm to combine their love of the outdoors, walking and animals. The business launched in July last year, offers visitors llama and alpaca walks around the 55-acre farm, as well as treks up nearby Irton Pike.

Visitors can also Meet and Greet the farm’s animals which include pygmy goats, Kunekune pigs, Valais Blacknose, Zwartbles and Ryeland sheep, Giant Continental Lop rabbits, ponies, horses, two donkeys, chickens and a guinea pig.

“Visitors can feed all the animals out of their hands apart from the pigs. We wanted people to be able to interact with the animals, and visitors love doing that.”

Amy said: “The farm is in a fantastic location, with Irton Pike behind us and views towards the Irish Sea on one side and the Wasdale Valley and Scafell Pike to the other. When people come here, they say they could be anywhere on earth.”

She added: “It’s great to be able to offer this kind of experience in an area of the Lake District which isn’t always as well known to visitors as some of the busier parts of the central Lakes. We hope it will encourage more people to visit our part of the world, and enjoy the fantastic scenery and experiences we have here.”

Amy first discovered alpacas at the Woolfest event in Cockermouth. She started with two llamas, then six alpacas. “I couldn’t stop buying them!”

The farm employs two local girls, trained in childcare, brilliant with the kids. One of them is Abby Stamper from Gosforth.

Amy’s love of animals and the outdoors began as a child while growing up on her parents’ farm and spending weekends rock climbing and camping in the Lake District.

The couple moved to the Lake District about 10 years ago where they live with their three children. Amy is a journalist and did a masters at Boston University.

They founded The Woolly Farm after finding the perfect place to base their business while on a walk at Santon Bridge, near Gosforth, during lockdown last year. The Woolly Farm opened last July. Temporarily closed during subsequent lockdowns. “It’s something we had always wanted to do because we love animals and the outdoors,” said Amy. “We fell in love with the farm straight away.”

After some work clearing bracken, building wooden sheds to house the animals, and putting up two miles of fencing, they were ready to welcome visitors.

Amy and Dan have plans to expand the farm in the future, creating more job opportunities for local people, and holding seasonal events such as a Halloween Pumpkin Patch and Christmas events.

The Woolly Farm recently teamed up with Lake District Mobility to offer all-terrain mobility vehicles to ensure its experiences are available to everyone. They have also taken the alpacas to care homes, and visited Mayfield Special School at Whitehaven.