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Historic stud farm restored
Stud farm at Myton.Copyright: Natural England
The Victorian stud farm was based on plans designed for the Great Exhibition

A working Victorian stud farm in North Yorkshire, which could double as a museum piece, is being restored to its former glory.

The farm, built in 1870, provides an important insight into horse keeping in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Restoration work has had to fit round a large colony of Natterer's bats, who've taken up residence at the farm.

Natural England funding has paid for the work at Myton Stud between Boroughbridge and Thirsk.

Natural England's Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS) has paid for the re-roofing and restoration of farm buildings at the farm, which is owned by brothers Nick and Nigel Ramsden.

Painstaking restoration

The buildings include stables, covered exercise area, coach house and domestic water tower. Renovation work has been a painstaking task, with traditional skills and materials being used in an effort to replace like with like.

Margaret Nieke, Natural England's Historic Adviser said:

"I'm absolutely delighted with the work that has taken place. The farm is like a living, breathing piece of rural history and it's great to know that it's being restored for future generations."

Myton Stud Farm at Myton on Swale forms part of the larger Home Farm and was built in 1870 using state of the art plans which were promoted at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The farm took a year to build, using bricks made near York. These were transported up the rivers Ure and Ouse by barge and over land by a temporary narrow gauge railway to the site.

The stud was built specifically for the breeding of trotting ponies. Today some historic blood lines can still be traced back to Myton.

Water tower at Myton. Copyright: Natural England
A colony of bats has taken up residence at the farm causing delays

The complex is largely original with little modification and provides a valuable insight into horse keeping and management; an activity which is characteristic of the Vale of York lowlands during the 19th and 20th centuries.

In World War One the farm was used as a training centre for horses before they were sent out to the front line and in World War Two, the horse boxes were used as secure storage for sugar.

Education centre

As well as restoring the buildings, the funding will help provide better facilities for visiting school groups, who enjoy educational visits to the farm to learn about Victorian farming methods.

The farm is a haven for wildlife too, so children get the opportunity see farmland bird species like corn bunting, yellow hammer and linnet.

The builders have had to fit their restoration work into a tight timescale due to a large colony of Natterer's bats, who have taken up residence in the water tower.

This is especially important as a recent survey estimated this could be the second biggest colony in Yorkshire.

Nick Ramsden said: "My brother and I have always considered ourselves custodians of this wonderful piece of agricultural heritage. There is so much history connected to it, you could probably write a book about it.

"We have always thought it would be fitting to restore it and were thrilled when Natural England's funding was made available to do it."

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