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Japanese coach groups fascinated by our fields of golden rape crops
8:00am Thursday 7th June 2012 in Countryside
COACHLOADS of Japanese tourists have been flocking to a farm near Broadway to view colourful rape fields.
East Lodge Farm in Stanton has been welcoming hundreds of tourists who want a closer look at the bright yellow plants which are a common sight for local people, but a fascinatingly rare spectacle for the holidaymakers.
Charlie Beldam, who is the director of Cotswold Gold, which produces extra virgin rapeseed oil at the farm, was contacted by tour companies who noticed that Japanese seem to take a special interest in the fields as they pass through the country.
The company, which grows, crushes and bottles the crop on the farm, offers tourists a chance to take pictures, walk through the fields and see how the oil is produced.
Mr Beldam said the popularity of the tours was down the Japanese wanting to see a little piece of England.
“They don’t grow rapeseed over in Japan,” he said.
Over the last few weeks tourists have been visiting the farm while the yellow flowers have been at their best, with the final few set to arrive this week.
This is the first year that Cotswold Gold has offered tours and there are already 70 coaches booked to visit next year.
However, the plant is not universally popular. George Revill, who lives on Woodfield Farm near Pershore, said that the spread of yellow rape along the banks of the River Avon since the floods in 2007 was concerning him.
He said: “It’s bad enough to see the harshness of the yellow in commercially grown crops increasing across our countryside but to have to see our beloved Avon infested, as well as spoiling the natural beauty of the river, must be causing concern.”