A West Craven farm park was named one of the top farm-based educational venues in the country at the National Farm Attraction Awards.

Thornton Hall Farm, at Thornton-in-Craven, was runner-up in the “best in education” category of the awards, organised by the National Farm Attractions Network.

The farm park has offered educational visits since it opened in 2007 and now attracts more than 7,000 schoolchildren, who experience daily life on a traditional working farm while learning important lessons such as where their food comes from.

Gary Richardson, chief executive of Countryside Learning and educational advisor for the awards, said: “Thornton Hall Farm, although just pipped to the post as overall winner, was a clear and worthy recipient of the runner-up award this year. Its willingness to work with schools and other groups to develop a bespoke package of visits for children is excellent.

“Its plans to diversify into teacher training events will only enhance the offer the farm is making to educate and inspire people about farming and where their food comes from.”

Emma Harrison, manager of Thornton Hall Farm, said: “We have put so much effort and dedication into getting this right and winning this award has meant we won’t stop making our educational visits an even more valuable learning experience to both teachers and their pupils.

“Children often visit our farm who have never felt the grass beneath their feet before, let alone hand-fed a newborn lamb a bottle of milk or held a tiny chick in the palm of their hands. Being responsible for this learning experience makes our job worthwhile.”

The farm will open its doors for the 2014 season on Saturday, March 29.