A farm park attraction near Thirsk has appointed a new general manager as it looks towards further growth following two successful seasons under new ownership.

Mark Navin is heading up the Monk Park Farm team. Part of the role will focus on developing events to build on the success of the venue’s Easter, Halloween and Christmas offering over the last two years.

Mark has nearly 30 years’ experience in the farm attractions industry and is a committee member of the National Farm Attractions Network (NFAN), giving advice and helping other small farm parks across the UK.

He has a particular interest in the educational aspect of farm parks and how they can help to inform on topics relating to sustainability and the countryside, as well as encouraging children to enjoy the outdoors.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Mark Navin has joined Monk Park Farm

In his previous role, Mark successfully led the development of a Cockfields Farm Park near Manchester, turning it from a farm shop with 15,000 annual visitors into one of the North West’s largest farm park attractions with 80,000 annual visitors, all within five years.

He said: “I’m champing at the bit to get going at Monk Park Farm. One of the things I most enjoyed about the previous farm was building it up, so this feels like I’m turning back the clock. Monk Park is a blank canvas with great potential. I’ll be looking to create a destination with some really good high-quality events to make the farm a proper day out for visitors.”

Monk Park Farm was acquired in April 2021 by the Boroughbridge-based holiday and retirement park operator, York Forty Four Ltd. The deal secured the future of the 85-acre venue at Bagby.

Phil Brierley, director at York Forty Four Ltd, said: “Following significant investment and nearly three years of hard work, we’re ready to take the farm to the next level. We are delighted that Mark will be joining us on this journey. His enthusiasm and dynamism, combined with decades of experience in the industry and the expertise he has demonstrated in developing a farm attraction previously, will be invaluable to us as we move forward.”

Mark, 43, will also be further developing the educational programme put in place by Hayley Cooke, interim head of operations at Monk Park Farm who is due to take maternity leave shortly.

Current farm supervisor Jack Wray, who has taken the lead on the farm’s events and marketing, is looking forward to developing his role and responsibilities as part of the management team.

Phil added: “The farm has come a long way since we took over and our current team have done a fantastic job. We can’t wait to see what the future brings with Mark alongside us to build on the start we have made.”