One of the most popular and treasured tourist attractions in Sussex, the Seven Sisters Sheep Centre at East Dean, will close its doors to the public at the end of the summer season.
It will shut on September 4 as owners Terry and Pam Wigmore are retiring.
The Sheep Centre, which has been run by the Wigmores for 29 years, has become something of an institution for many people in the local area and beyond.
Pam, 67, said, “We are now meeting the third generation of a family where people visited as a child, then brought their children and now those children are bringing their own children.”
Terry, 69, said, “It has been really important to us to keep allowing people to touch and feed the animals but each year health and safety requirements have made this harder and harder to achieve”.
The Sheep Centre was set up by Terry and Pam in 1987 after Terry was made redundant as livestock manager at Birling Manor Farm.
Having experienced a great amount of interest from the public at lambing time, the couple decided to venture into the unknown and became one of the first farms to diversify into an open farm visitor attraction.
Over the years, Terry’s interest in different breeds of sheep has seen his flock grow to become the largest private collection of sheep breeds in the world, which at its peak saw Terry owning 57 of the 63 native British Breeds.
Sadly now though the flock is to be dispersed as the centre closes to allow Terry and Pam retirement.
Terry said that his 70th Birthday in April next year will be the first birthday he’s celebrated in more than 50 years as he has always been too busy lambing,
The centre is now open daily between 10.30am and 5pm for visitors to watch Terry shearing the sheep and see a selection of the different breeds, alongside other activities such as cuddle sessions, bottle feeding and tractor rides.
It’s also a last chance to savour one of Pam’s homemade cakes or cream teas in the Hay Rack Tea Room.
For more information visit the website www.sheepcentre.co.uk
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