A FARM at a special school which breeds its own pigs has become so successful it is attracting coach-loads of visitors.

Jonathan Tearle, head of Mowbray School, in Bedale, said while the BBC’s Countryfile was hoping to make a programme about the farm, it had become a centre for day trips for schools from across Yorkshire.

Since the farm was set up seven years ago with four hens, it has grown to have 30 sheep, a pig breeding centre, and it provides regular supplies of eggs to a cafe.

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It also has two horses, several donkeys and produces crops.

Mowbray School has up to 140 pupils aged from three to 16 who have a range of learning, emotional and behavioural difficulties. The catchment area covers a large part of the northern part of North Yorkshire, including five military bases.

Mr Tearle told a meeting of Bedale Town Council the school is planning to build a new stable block for the horses.

He said: "When we started seven years ago people said we were mad and how would we staff it at weekends, but it has been a huge success with the students.

“They really love working on the farm, it has been a learning process, but many of our pupils are going onto A level courses and employment courses linked to the farm.

"It is very therapeutic having the animals in school, it is amazing the impact it has, we are delighted with it. “