Cow Cuddle Experience: Meet the couple who are offering cow therapy sessions on their Yorkshire farm - where you can pet and brush show cattle
This genuine, warm-hearted lady and her equally cattle-passionate husband Andrew are now sharing the love of their animals with others, and it is all in the name of raising precious funds for Evestrust charity based in Doncaster.
Kate said she was moved by the Evestrust when she saw a poster.
“The charity supports families going through their cancer journey and makes their dreams come true in all kinds of ways. Me and Andrew have always wanted to do something for charity, to give something back, do some good and we had been on the lookout for what we both could offer.
“We thought that, just like I used to do at shows, there are always people who would like to get up close to a cow. It really is quite therapeutic, creates those feelgood endorphins, the warmth of the body and the hair.
“I didn’t want Evestrust to have to pay for that experience. I wanted people to come here, to us, and for us to raise more vital funds at the same time.
The Home of the Cow Cuddle Experience is how Kate and Andrew have called their charity fund raising venture that started last week with their first couple visiting. There are already many others booking right up to Christmas and beyond.
Kate said the farm at Wrancarr Mill is perfect for visitors, with an old mill forming part of the pretty picture as you drive up, and that their first priority is safety.
“Our farming neighbours call us the toy farm because we’re a small farm, they have more animals and everything we have done since coming here nearly seven years ago has been with our own safety and the health of our cattle in mind.
“The farm is exceptionally clean and tidy. Andrew loves to see it that way and it creates a really good impression for visitors, especially for those who come to buy pedigree stock from us, but now also our cow cuddlers!
“We have experienced show cows that are halter-trained and are used to being held, stroked, brushed and cuddled. We are currently using Jewel, one of our best show cows. Jewel will stand there all day being stroked, cuddled and generally lapping up all the warmth she can get from other people.
“When people arrive we will give a safety briefing and then take them over to the cattle shed. We don’t have lots of cows and it really is airy and bright, so visitors won’t feel at all intimidated. This isn’t about us becoming a big visitor attraction. It’s a really nice welcoming environment and it’s peaceful, because we want our cows to be quiet and gentle.
“Either myself or Andrew will go in with rest of herd and we will introduce each of the animals, telling our visitors what they are all like, their different characteristics.
‘After that is when Jewel becomes the star of the show, although we have others that could just as easily take her place. We bring Jewel out into a secure area where none of the other animals are.
“Jewel loves it. She’s used to people, used to being fussed. We then invite the person, or couple or small group to come over. They can brush her, cuddle her, have as many photographs as they want, hand feed her, they’ll probably get fed up before she will!
Kate said the smiles on the faces of those who visit, as they’ve had many more before becoming The Home of the Cow Cuddle Experience, is just great.
“You can stroke a cow through a barrier, but it’s really not the same as that feeling about being up close with them. There’s something about stroking an animal that has such a calming effect and the bigger the animal seems to have bigger impact. The warmth that comes off them through the hair, the texture. I think everyone who comes and experiences it will go away feeling a little bit better after it.
“It’s a really nice way that we have found in utilising the environment we’ve created. It is a very personal interactive, one-on-one moment and if we can raise a few quid for charity that’s lovely. It’s about our farm, the animals, doing some good and giving something back to help in a great cause.
“And there’s no rush either. Visitors can expect to be on the farm for about two hours but there’s no time restraint.
“Once we have returned Jewel back to the herd we will also give a tour of the other animals on the farm. We have hens and sheep and so in spring there may be an opportunity to handle the lambs or chicks too. I just have to whistle and the guinea fowl come flying down to be fed. There’s chance for a tea and coffee with us and a bit of a chat.
Kate said none of this, living at Wrancarr Mill, having their own little farm, would have happened without having had Boxy, who came with them from her father Ken’s farm, and the troubles he endured, most notably being sentenced to slaughter until a botched bovine TB test was discovered. Boxy’s fate was all over the national and local news at the time.
Kate and Andrew’s and Boxy’s story, including that of all Kate’s family, including parents Ken and Anita Jackson and Kate’s brother Paul, has recently been released as Boxy & Me – A Love That Never Died recounting that time, his successes in the show ring, troubles at the hands of Defra and the rest of his life spent at Wrancarr Mill. Kate is now on the speaking circuit talking about Boxy to Women’s Institutes and agricultural discussion groups.
“Boxy changed my life. I’ve had my own health struggles too, and I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for him – and Andrew. I have always loved my cattle, the Blondes particularly but Boxy is the reason why we’re here. And he’s also the reason why we are now able to give something back.
Kate and Andrew also have another experience being held at Wrancarr Mill next year when artist Joyce Buzeman will be running a three hour session entitled Highland Cow Painting on the Farm.
You can book a Cow Cuddle Experience or purchase a voucher as a present; or order Boxy & Me – A Love That Never Died (published by Great Northern Books) from