Last year Cogges Manor Farm Museum in Witney faced closure when West Oxfordshire District Council withdrew its annual £196,000 funding contribution. Now, thanks to a rescue package from Oxfordshire County Council, the museum looks set for another busy summer season.

It is not difficult to see why this tourist attraction is growing in popularity. In our modern world of battery hens and intensive milking, Cogges is a traditional Victorian farm which allows the visitor to glimpse the simple rural lifestyle of years gone by.

On entering the beautiful farmstead with its original Cotswold buildings, visitors are greeted by a noisy paddling of ducks and several breeds of chickens and guinea fowl, who seem completely unfazed by the human intrusion.

The late Victorian brick and slate pigsties are occupied by various breeds of pigs, including Tamworth, Berkshire and Gloucester Old Spot the most popular breeds in the 19th century. The ox byre, with its unusual bundle-thatch roof, would originally have held plough-pulling oxen. Nowadays, the byre is used by the museum's herd of cows, which include beautiful Dairy Shorthorns, an unusual sight on modern farms.

Around the corner, donkeys Mattie and Dylan compete for visitors' attention, unashamedly sulking if one gets more than the other. Other animals at Cogges include a magnificent Clydesdale horse, two extremely tame rabbits and various breeds of ewes and their lambs.

Apart from its sheer prettiness, what is striking about Cogges is how well the animals interact with each other. They live in such harmony that you almost expect to come back after dark to find them having a conference in the barn, like a scene from George Orwell's Animal Farm. In fact, the whole place has the feel of a fictitious pastoral idyll, completely untouched and unspoilt by the modern world.

Behind the Manor House, the walled garden is filled with vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers in beds divided by formal paths. The central walk is edged with lavender and old varieties of espalier apple trees. Wooden benches provide the perfect excuse to stay and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and heady scent. Produce from this garden is used in the kitchen and sold in the Museum Shop. I can personally recommend the blackcurrant extra jam and spicy red onion marmalade, which taste infinitely better than anything you can buy in the shops.

The centrepiece of the museum is the Grade 2 Listed Manor House, parts of which date back to the 13th century. Inside visitors will meet the maids dressed in traditional Victorian costume and watch them cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning and sewing. Every day the kitchen range is cleaned and polished with blacklead before the coal fire is lit, as it would have been in Victorian times. Fruit and vegetables from the walled garden and produce from the farm are all used on a daily basis to make traditional Victorian dishes.

Upstairs the history of the house is revealed in a series of displays and period room settings including a Victorian schoolroom and nursery. There is also a children's activity room where young visitors can try on Victorian costumes and play with traditional toys and games.

Cogges Manor Farm Museum is located on Church Lane, Witney. Opening times are 10.30am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Friday, and 12 noon to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is £5.40 for adults, £2.30 for children and £13.90 for a family ticket. Telephone 01993 772602.