WHAT started as a small attraction on a family-run farm has somewhat snowballed into a sanctuary for animals.

’Walking the Goats at Lower Coates’ was started by Kelly Richardson with husband Adam at their working farm in Silkstone Common before Christmas last year.

Since then, the Richardsons - who have two children, James, ten, and eight-year-old Hope - have taken in five more goats, 12 alpacas, eight chickens, five rabbits, two cows and even two tortoises.

This is on top of the family farm’s 30-strong herd of sheep.

Kelly, who previously worked at Penistone Grammar School as a PE teacher, said: “It all started when we re-homed a few goats last year and thought they were that nice to spend time with, we’d share them.

“We were doing just a few walks a month with the goats at first but then we had a little lamb that needed bottle-feeding and so invited people to get in involved in that and spend some time on the farm.

“We began to re-home other animals and diversify our offer and we now provide about 30 animal experiences a month.”

The couple are building a 150 square metre barn to accommodate activities on wet and cold days.

The project received cash from the Rural Business Grant scheme, which is managed by Enterprising Barnsley, supported by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) and funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the Rural England Prosperity Fund.

Kelly added: “We want our farm to continue to offer relaxed, educational and fun animal experiences and we look forward to what 2024 holds.”