IT’S Peppaaaaaaaaaa! A pair of blonde bunches whizzes past and seconds later the toddler is embracing her heroine, a 6ft tall pig in a red dress.

She is one of hundreds of children with eyes as wide as saucers taking in the fantasy world of Peppa Pig that has been brought to life at Paultons Park, in Ower, near Romsey.

The characters, homes, colours and sounds have been faithfully recreated over the three-acre site that in just 13 months has been transformed into the stuff of dreams.

Miss Rabbit’s helicopter ride soars over the candy-coloured landscape while squeals of delight emanate from Grandad Pig’s train ride as it chuffs through the brightly-coloured vegetable patches.

George’s Dinosaur ride is one of the biggest draws, with the prehistoric creatures bobbing through a volcanic landscape with chuckling toddlers on top.

It is certainly the hottest ticket in town, as the opening of Peppa Pig World next month cannot have escaped the notice of any parent with youngsters old enough to say “muddy puddles”.

Celebrity mums including Tina O’Brien, Natalie Cassidy and Natasha Kaplinsky didn’t pass up the chance to treat their children to a sneak preview of the world’s first park themed around the cute little pig who has been delighting children for years with simple tales of life with her mummy and daddy and brother George.

In among the delighted children’s faces is one smile that is wider than most. Sat on a bench that has been crafted into a chicken in Mr Potato’s play park, managing director of Paultons Park Richard Mancey surveys the site with satisfaction.

It was his vision to recreate the TV series as a theme park that was pitched to “Peppa’s people” just two years ago.

The family-run park saw the potential of turning worldwide phenomena into a theme park, capitalising on the children’s television character that last year saw over £200m of merchandising sold, outstripping Thomas the Tank Engine and cementing its place as a modern day children’s classic.

The little pig started off as a sketch by creators Phil Davies and Neville Astley as they doodled in their rooftop garden, and bit by bit she became the staggeringly popular Peppa.

The pitch evidently went well and by February last year the site was being cleared to make way for the seven new rides alongside an indoor and outdoor play area and water park.

It was the family-friendly approach that underpins the Paultons Park brand that appealed to the Peppa Pig creators.

Daily Echo: PIG PARADISE: Peppa Pig World is set to be a major family attraction.	Order no: 12163078

Neville said: “Creating Peppa has always been a slow-burner. It didn’t all come at once, but bit by bit we added things and developed more ideas around her, so to see a theme park dedicated to her is just mind-blowing. We have never been into a hard sell and would never look for things like this, but when the idea was brought to us it was obvious that Richard was prepared to do an excellent job, both investing the money and the ideas around the rides.”

So it was the unique combination of the right idea with the right location that resulted in the £5m park becoming a reality.

With an estimated 60,000 extra visitors flocking through the turnstiles each year as a result of the Peppa factor, there is no doubting the immediate boost the park will have on Paulton’s as an global attraction.

But it is now up to the rest of the hospitality and leisure industry to capitalise on the massive new customer base being delivered on their doorstep.

Already bed and breakfasts and hotels are seeing hundreds of extra bookings in anticipation of the door’s opening on April 9.

Richard is convinced the new attraction with have a huge knock on effect to other industries in the area. “We wanted to make the park a real destination for families not only with what we have to offer here but also in terms of offering packages and breaks in collaboration with local hotels.

He describes how “eyes were opened” to the potential of the park to local business at a recent tourism conference. And it is not just the obvious trades that will benefit. The new park has already lead to the creation of 50 new jobs while other industries including engineers and catering companies could all see a boost.

In times of cut backs and purse strings being tightened it seems parents are still willing to spend when it comes to the kids and in the pre-school world it doesn’t get much bigger than Peppa Pig.

It is a pull that is being felt from beyond these shores with enquires already being made from Scandinavia and across Europe with families wanting to come and experience Peppa Pig World.

“We had one caller from Ireland just ringing direct and asking how they could get here and where to stay,” added Richard.

The anticipation of the opening on April 9 is palpable with parents desperate to get their hands on tickets. A golden ticket competition saw an unprecedented 50,0000 entries while traffic on the Paultons Park website has gone up several hundred per cent.

“The scale of the interest has been staggering,” says Richard, “We always estimate conservatively on the impact an opening will have but we are hopeful that this will not only be a success story for Paultons but for tradesmen, services and industry across the region.”