One fine Sunday morning on the last day of January I woke ready for an adventure in the Shropshire country side and some good local food along the way and so that’s exactly what we did.
Our destination to explore was Fordhall farm, an organic, sustainable and community project in North of Shropshire.
The farm and the community project is run by Ben Hollins and his sister Charlotte, who took over the tenancy from their father Arthur and with the help of a community have not only saved the farm, but have also made it somewhere that has brought together traditional farming with pioneering educational and community initiatives, it is also the most delightful place to spend an afternoon.
Arriving whilst there was still blue sky and although very tempted to head straight to the cafe we pulled on our wellies and headed out into the muddy yard. I don’t think there is ever an age that you grow out of wanting to squelch through muddy puddles.
Being greeted by some friendly faces on the way.
All the livestock on the farm live entirely off organic pastures and are completely free range.
The pigs, sheep and cattle are reared with extremely high standards of animal welfare and lots of love, which is evident in their relaxed and content behaviour, this may easily be the place which coined the expression “Happy as a pig in poo!!” (or something like that!!)
There are three stunning trails to walk that are funded by the heritage lottery fund and the farms family of shareholders that take in some really simple and spectacular beauty about the place. Ben’s was the chosen route for us, expected to take about 45 mins and for which wellies are a must at this time of year.
Having just this last week watched ‘Sense & Sensibility’ there is a feeling of Jane Austin about the place; walking though the fields and having a Marianna Dashwood moment I stood at the top of the hill overlooking the valley and river below and felt a sense of calmness with the wind whipping around me, it’s a lovely feeling being away from it all and with the elements, that’s all it takes to make me feel revitalised again.
Following the twists and turns of the River Tyne you take in so much of the wonderful local wildlife and having heard that there are sometimes otters in this stretch of the river we tried to be quiet, but the temptation of making raspberry noises whilst trampling through the mud was too much.
Heading back up towards the farm we took a little detour to have a nose at the yurts which are available for glamping breaks and I couldn’t think of anywhere more perfect for a retreat, surrounded by this stunning and much loved land. Big enough for a family of six, however this would be the perfect break for a romantic weekend away, imagine sitting on the decking wrapped up in cosy blankets with the wood burner glowing whilst you enjoy a Gloucester old spot sausage, sorry Babe, and a bottle or 2 of Shropshire lady.
Speaking of which we headed back and after a coffee and slice of the homemade cake in the cafe we went to do one of my favourite things for a Sunday … The food shop!
The farm shop stocks the best local and organic produce, with everything you could imagine, from Pimhill porridge oats to pork pies, they have their own bakery on site and a fantastic butchery headed by an ever helpful Charlie and this is what we were here for. Having heard people rave about the Fordhall own dry cured bacon we couldn’t wait to get some and to compliment it a bottle of Cava from the local wine merchants Tanners (well why not!) and maybe a ‘couple’ of other items, including a sausage roll that managed to somehow get slipped in.
Time to leave, pulling off the wellies and popping our goodies into the car we headed home having had a wonderful afternoon in a truly special place and with a delicious Sunday night ahead.
A very happy place ♥
Fordhall Organic Farm
Tern Hill Road
Farm Shop and Butchery: 01630 317531
Bookings, Café and General Enquiries: 01630 638696
Farm Shop, Café and Farm Trail Opening Times
Tuesday – Saturday
9.30am – 5pm
Sunday 10am – 4pm