A GOAT little bigger than a puppy is taking a tentative bite of my big toe, making it almost impossible to hold my body in the plank position.

On a raised dais, made from half a dozen stacked pallets, a Pilates teacher instructs us to take a deep breath in. Somehow, she manages to ignore the determined goat kid taking great mouthfuls of her stretchy sports top.

Welcome to Golates, one of the latest crazes to hop over the Atlantic and hit UK shores.

Started in America, it sees people practice Pilates or yoga in a roomful of baby goats. Proponents say it helps release stress and encourages those attending the unusual fitness classes to relax.

It is the second year East Farm, near Avebury, has hosted the classes with Swindon-based Pilates teacher Sarah Summers.

Farmer Laura Corbett said: “It’s a bit different. It’s a bit of fun.”

It’s certainly fun.

I covered the event last year, when Laura was trying the Golates classes for the first time. The quirky idea – then new to the UK – captured the attention of news editors across the country, with national newspapers delighting in pictures of goats clambering over prone Pilates fans.

The class itself lasts around an hour, with teacher Sarah taking participants through a series of moves. Everything from child’s pose, crouched on your knees with your head on the yoga mat, to downward dog.

Eight goat kids scamper around our feet, occasionally clambering onto people’s backs. One of the kids urinates in a quiet corner of the whitewashed barn.

At the end of the session, the 10 of us pose for pictures with the young Boer goats. They scream as they’re picked up, but quickly calm down as they sit in our arms. The goats’ splotched brown-and-white fur is soft and the kids have a puppy-like smell.

While the classes are great fun, they are also an interesting tale of farm diversification.

Laura Corbett’s family has been farming the land around Avebury for more than seven decades. East Farm once had a pedigree herd of black-and-white Holstein cows. But falling dairy prices and restrictions placed on farmers in the wake of TB scares prompted Laura and her father to consider alternative options.

Now, as well as a rare breed beef herd, around 150 Boer goats and an arable unit, the farmyard also boasts an indoor swimming pool and a warehouse space.

In a world where uncertainty hangs over the future of farming subsidies, that diversification of the business is important.

Laura, 39, says she has her father’s foresight to thank for the fact she and her husband have been able to invest in alternatives.

“My father’s a businessman before he’s a farmer,” she said.

Laura, who has two young children, had inherited this commercial nouse: “Your heart’s in the farming, your head’s in the business.”