Skip to content
October 11, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Remarkable Apley photos

Apley Hall - Group of servants2014-09-01, Spider's web by Ian Edwards DCIM100MEDIAI’m incredibly grateful to 3 people this week for sending me magnificent Apley photos: Elwyn Jones has just sent me this very rare c1910 photo of a group of 22 Apley Hall [Park] servants, which I’ve never seen before.  The sad thing is that about 10 people who may have been able to name a few of the servants have now all died (since we arrived here in 2006).

Ian Edwards just sent me his latest photos, taken as he goes about his daily work on Apley’s farms. We’ve exhibited some of his in the past in the Apley Holiday Cottages (which we’ve been emptying & today the Creamery Café).

Hugh Dyas, one of the Apley farming tenants, took these aerial photos over Apley Walled Gardens. It’s the only aerial shot I have so it’s very special. I love the fact than aerial shots can tell us the history of the landscape in a way that can’t be seen from the ground. It is great evidence of the extraordinary progress of Phil & his volunteers, tasted by many Apley Farm Shop & Creamery Café customers, where his produce is cooked into delicious recipes by our chef Martin & his team.

October 10, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden Pear & beetroot salad

2014-10-09, Apley pear & beetroot salad recipeJust fresh in today are these lovely recipe cards created by Rebecca in Apley Farm Shop for Apley Walled Gardens fruit & veg, produced by Phil Allen & his team of volunteers.

Our fridge has pears & beetroot right now, so I’ll try this one tomorrow !

I’ve also just had this feedback from the private Walled Garden tour which Phil led on Tuesday:

This morning’s visit to The Walled Garden was so uplifting. You are very knowledgeable and we were greatly impressed. We learned a great deal and found the visit fascinating. Thank you so much for giving up your valuable time. Michael, my husband, wants to volunteer next spring, so he’ll be in touch I’m sure. Good luck with your future renovations. We’ll be visiting again !”

This weekend at Apley Farm Shop, the CPRE are holding their Big Draw in Pigg’s Playbarn 10-4pm Sat, then on Sunday 12 Oct, Hope House Hospice are holding their zip wire event, also 10-4pm, which should be thrilling to watch !

We’re closing the 3 Apley Holiday Cottages, so I’ll be busy there packing up this weekend. If you are interested in buying any of the contents, do contact the Estate Office 01746 762 110 or Farm Shop office 01952 730 345. I’ll make the catalogue available soon.

It’s been rather wet in Shropshire this week, so the Apley farming team have been doing fencing, maintenance & preparing the livestock buildings for when the cattle come in for the winter by the end of October. 200 cows are hopefully now in calf, due in Feb 2015.

October 9, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Make long term lifestyle changes with STARTfit & Apley Farm Shop

me5 SFlogoNatasha Minnikin (photographed here) lives very locally to the Farm Shop & called me this week to tell me about her health & fitness company Startfit. Apley Farm Shop is pleased to be offering discount vouchers to her clients. Here are some extracts from the summary she sent me of Startfit’s work:

“STARTfit is a programme specialising in weight loss, body transformation & long term lifestyle change.  “We are working locally to help reduce the significant increase in type II diabetes, obesity and coronary heart disease that is causing so many Shropshire men & women pain & discomfort, & preventing them from leading a happy, healthy vibrant lives”.

The founder of STARTfit, Natasha Minnikin, is a practitioner in NLP and CBT as well as being a Master Personal Trainer, and it is the amalgamation of these skill sets that makes STARTfit truly unique.  Her 12 week body transformation package focuses on changing mind-sets through workshops, not just fitness programming, to make real long-term, lifestyle change. Local men & women have already seen incredible results:

I definitely feel more energetic and motivated and the measured improvement in my physical condition at the end of 12 weeks was astounding. There is also a real “feel good” factor that stays with me through every day and helps keep me motivated to continue with the programme. Rob Hill, Newport.

For more details, visit

October 8, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Filming at Apley

2014-09-27, Apley Taste Off, film crew & Harrison familyRecently, you may have spotted Agata Wasiewska & her team (I love the fact that 1 is called Euripides*) has been filming at Apley Farm Shop & Apley Walled Gardens.

We’re creating publicity films & very short clips to go on vertical animated adverts on websites (called skyscrapers). For a test period, these are replacing our adverts in magazines & newspapers, as increasingly it seems customers & visitors are using websites & social media platforms for the information they need. Here they are relaxing in Apley Farm Shop’s courtyard outside the Creamery Café, after a busy day filming the Apley Taste Off.

*Euripides (c. 480 – 406 BCE) was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. – – 07895 431 968

October 7, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Biz Mums meeting in Pigg’s Playbarn, Wed 15 Oct

BizmumsLogoNext week, Biz Mums, a local group of business women, are meeting in for the first time in Pigg’s Playbarn at Apley Farm Shop on Wednesday 15 October, 10-11.30am. Here’s the rest of the press release about the event:

“Founder Michelle Childs explained, “It’s the first time we’ve met at Pigg’s Playbarn which we chose for its easy location & great facilities. Our members come from all over Shropshire, some with their children, so Apley Farm Shop is ideal.”

BizMums was founded in November 2012 by Michelle Childs to offer support & inspiration to mums in business. They currently host events where mums can come along, meet, share what they do & learn valuable skills which they can then take back & apply to their business.

Lady Harriet Hamilton added “We’re very pleased to provide a venue for entrepreneurial groups, encouraging mothers to get back to work & into business. They are setting their children good examples & helping the local economy too.”

At each location BizMums host one event per month in a child-friendly location so mums can bring their children along too. They currently run 25 groups each month from across from the West Midlands up to East Yorkshire & have 100 members. Full Networking memberships are £15 a month which gives you unlimited access to all of their online resources, one-to-one member match ups & unlimited networking at all of our 25 events.  The first meetup is always FREE so mums can see whether or not it suits their needs.

BizMums understand how important it is for mums who can feel isolated in their businesses, to be able to meet other mums & have the opportunity to learn & grow their businesses in a comfortable environment.

Each month they have a theme for all their meetings. We invite a guest speaker to come & share their expertise in their field with us. The themes are always useful to building your business such as PR, Marketing, social media, goal setting & blogging.  This is furthered by free learning webinars, guest blog posts & training materials on our website & ‘BizClub’.  If you aren’t able to attend meetings regularly, we also have an online members group on Facebook where you are able to network online with the other members.

Kelly Byrne of Kelly’s Cake Creations explained why she loves Bizmums:  “I joined Bizmums in January this year. So far I’ve learnt how to use Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook for business & also some accounting. But most of all I’ve become good friends with other like minded mums in business. It’s great having a support network of understanding people who are experiencing similar business issues in their daily work. I recommend Bizmums to every mum in business. Having somewhere I can network & take my children with me too has made being a Mumpreneur working from home a lot less isolating & lonely.”

Rachael Dobson, Founder of P&AS, a charity supporting families with Pre & Post Natal Depression explained why she values her BizMums membership:  By going to BizMums & listening to guest speakers, I have built up my business knowledge, which I have implemented into our charity, P&AS. I have gained support & help with our fundraising work & met local business people including Kirsty & Rhea from J&PR, a local PR agency & Rebekkah Harriman, a social media trainer. The charity has also gained two trustees through BizMums, who are now invaluable to the running of the charity.”

For more details, please see:

Twitter @Bizmums

October 5, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Elizabeth Beckett Skincare makeup launch party, Wed 22 Oct

Young Blood makeup logoElizabeth Beckett Skincare, based at Apley Farm Shop, is expanding their range of services and will now be offering an exciting range of makeup services.  On Wednesday 22 October, Elizabeth will be hosting a launch party for the new mineral makeup range called Youngblood & recently sent me these details:

Youngblood is a mineral cosmetics brand made using natural, finely ground minerals from the earth — without any of the common irritants (including chemicals, dyes and preservatives) found in conventional makeup. Created by former medical aesthetician, Pauline Youngblood, many of the products contain a signature mineral blend of Malachite, Rhodolite, Hematite and Zincite to help protect cells and tissue. The products are gentle to all skin types and conditions, including skin recovering from laser or chemical peels, or experiencing rosacea, acne or discoloration. They are free of talc, parabens, oil and fragrance, and have earned numerous awards including “Best Foundation” (Beauty Launchpad) and “Best Mineral Blush” (NewBeauty). 

The launch party will be held in the Creamery Café at Apley Farm Shop from 6.30 for a 7pm start on Wednesday 22 October 2014. Tickets are £5, which include a glass of wine on arrival and canapés throughout the evening. The ticket price is redeemable on products purchased on the evening*. For more information, visit or call Elizabeth on 01952 730 575.

*when you spend £20 or more on products”

October 4, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley’s Head Gardener’s gardening tips for October

2014-09-19, Neil Harrison AWG Phil photos (75) Phil with Turks Turban squashAs usual, at the start of the month, Apley’s Head Gardener’s shares with us his gardening tips for October. You may also read this in the Shropshire Review or County Woman.

These spectacular photos are by Neil Harrison ( or 07854 131 141), which do so well to illustrate daily life in the garden.

As ground becomes vacant after harvest, you can dig it over & spread manure over the surface. Leave the soil roughly dug in large clumps & the worms will break these up as they get the manure.

As November is a month of heavy frosts & lots of rain the freezing & thawing of water in the soil will cause the soil to break up finely so becoming easier to handle in the Spring.

Digging over introduces air into the soil, loosening it & avoiding it turning into a solid pan. It also exposes insect pests to the open air where the birds can eat them. Double or deep digging & introducing manure or composts to the base of the trenches will deepen your top soil providing a better growing medium.

Keep a close eye on your winter brassicas & if they have survived the caterpillars the next pest will be the birds as they are hungry at this time of year so cover with netting if required. With staked Brussels sprouts, double check all is firm or wind rock will break the root hairs & cause the sprouts to blow.

Leeks should be ready now, so harvest every other one in a row leaving the rest to grow on. Brussels sprouts should be starting as well so pick from the bottom of the plant upwards. Along with sprouts you can harvest kale & take up the winter cabbages & cauliflowers. A cauliflower tightly wrapped in cling-film kept in the fridge can be kept fresh for as long as six weeks. Main crop carrots can be lifted to store safe from pests in damp sand or peat in your store along with parsnips but they do hold in the ground better than carrots. Jerusalem artichokes will be available & you can start on salsify & scorzonera & orbis. You may still be able to harvest celery & celeriac, kale & kohl rabi as well as turnips, swedes & spinach.

2014-09-19, Neil Harrison AWG photos (15), view East to WestCheck any vegetables you have in store & removing anything that has started to rot before it spreads. Potatoes really need to be checked & watch out for slugs that have emerged from a potato to go & damage another one.


It’s pruning time for apples & pears & they’ll benefit from some compost around the base as a mulch. With younger, staked trees check the stakes are firm & the ties. Winter winds can shake the roots loose on young trees causing poor growth or even death .

As with October, November is a good month to attend to pruning the raspberries, blackberries & hybrid berries as well as being the ideal time to plant bare rooted canes. Don’t forget to add plenty of compost to the soil & 250gr (8oz) per square yard of bonemeal.

Vegetable of the month

2014-09-19, Neil Harrison AWG photos (37) 3 volunteers 2Parsnips - Fine words butter no parsnips.

As this is the season of casseroles & stew, what better vegetable than the parsnip that gives such sweet flavour. The parsnip is a humble vegetable & is origins are right here in England. There isn’t an exact date for domesticity, but the Romans were very fond of them & used them to make wine & roast them as we do today. The parsnip is happy in cold climates & the full flavour only develops after a good frost, which turns the starch into sugar giving that lovely sweet flavour. For this reason they have always grown well in northern climates, but oddly it appears they didn’t make the journey to America with the first settlers & are not used in their cuisine. This may be due to the lack of varieties or maybe they are just too sweet?

Here in the UK & Eastern Europe, they are a staple food. Even though the seed is notoriously short lived, unreliable & germination rates are often low, the parsnip is among the easiest crops to store & can be left in the ground right through winter, leaving the fattest sweetest parsnips to be eaten in Spring.

October 3, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden progress photos

2014-09-19, Neil Harrison AWG photos (94) Volunteer Rose Duncombe through log entrance2014-09-19, Neil Harrison AWG photos (44) Phil checking cabbagesThese wonderful Apley Walled Garden progress photos have been very recently taken by Neil Harrison (, who as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, has been photographing our recent Apley events.

Firstly, the last Open Tour this year is on Tues 7 Oct. Meet Phil Allen at the Farm Shop entrance 10am.

Planting of salad leaves in the polytunnel will start on Friday when our wonderful volunteers are next there to help Phil. Welcome to our new volunteer Jonathan, who was a teacher & came on a recent tour. They’ll be growing all year round lettuce, early peas, early onions, Spring onions which grow over the winter.

Our 400 racer pumpkins are ready to cut, eat, carve & display – perfect for the Spookley Pumpkin Festival which runs 18-19 & 25-31 October, coinciding with half term week.

Even though it’s not been the best year for apples, we still have plenty of Discovery, Fiesta & Bramleys, coming from various orchards around the Estate.

Phil has bought 5kg of garlic bulbs, so tomorrow, the purple garlic cloves will be planted. Lord Hamilton (husband Gavin) will then be able to smoke his pheasant & partridges with Apley’s own garlic – all done in our own game processing building.

The crop report for this week includes:

  • Apples – Various eating varieties & Bramley cooking apples
  • Beans – French, Purple Teepee
  • Beans – Runner, Pole Star
  • Beetroot – Chioggia, Detroit & Golden beet
  • Cabbage (Bison)
  • Carrots – Chanteney, Mixed colour & Eskimo
  • Celeriac (Prinz)
  • Chard (Rainbow)
  • Chives
  • Coriander
  • Fennel – Sweet & Romanesque
  • Flowers, edible (mixed varieties)
  • Kale – Red Bor
  • Leeks – Jolant
  • Lettuces – Little Gem, All Year Round & Saladin, iceberg
  • Mint (Spearmint)
  • Onions – Red Baron & Stuttgart
  • Parsnips (Hollow Crown)
  • Pears
  • Plums (Victoria)
  • Potatoes – International kidney
  • Pumpkins – Racer
  • Rocket – Cultivated
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Shallot – Zebrune
  • Spinach – Red boar & Missouri
  • Spring onions – Ishikura, White Lisbon & North Holland
  • Sweet peas (Scented)
  • Sweetcorn (Mini pops)
  • Thyme
  • Tomatoes (Heritage)

To make a special order of any Walled Garden produce, contact us in one of these ways: or call / text Phil Allen on 07746 01 30 50. Or try Apley Farm Shop’s office on 01952 730 345, option 6 or

October 3, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Craft Fair demonstration, 12 noon on Sunday, 5 October

2014-10-01, Karen Dewson fused glass image

Karen Dewson will demonstrate & talk about her fused glass skills at 12noon during this month’s Apley Craft Fair on Sunday October 4th. Shropshire crafts on offer will range from bath bombs, quilted greeting cards, bunting, bobbles & hair bows, crochet items, oil burners, tea cup candles, hand turned pens, handmade soaps, bags & jewellery.

For more details of Karen’s glasswork, see

Why not combine it with Sunday lunch in Apley Farm Shop’s Creamery Café & browse the craft stalls. Perhaps take a Skylark Nature Trail walk after lunch, to see the Autumn colours turning.

October 2, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

October events at Apley Farm Shop

2014-09-19, Neil Harrison AWG photos (58) veg box, croppedAs always, there’s heaps to do at Apley Farm Shop this October:

Karen Dewson will demonstrate her fused glass skills at 12noon during this month’s Apley Craft Fair on Sunday October 4th. Shropshire crafts on offer will range from bath bombs, quilted greeting cards, bunting, bobbles & hair bows, crochet items, oil burners, tea cup candles, hand turned pens, handmade soaps, bags & jewellery.  For more details of Karen’s glasswork, see

To see the Autumn harvest coming in & 2015’s crops being planted, join the last Open Tour of Apley Walled Gardens on Tuesday October 7th. Meet the Head Gardener at the Farm Shop entrance at 10am, returning for 12noon in time for an early lunch in The Creamery Cafe.

More fun will follow on 11-12 October – on Saturday October 11th, children can participate in The Big Draw in Pigg’s Playbarn & organised by the CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England). On Sunday October 12th, Hope House Hospice are holding a thrilling zip wire event in the field in front of the Farm Shop.

For entrepreneurial mothers, BizMums are holding a meeting in Pigg’s Playbarn on Wednesday October 15th, 10-11.30am. Search Facebook or call 07794 330172 for more details.

There will be plenty of wholesome fun during the half term week when Apley Farm Shop is again hosting the Spookley Pumpkin Festival, 18-19 & 25-31 October. Children can ride the pumpkin express daily at 2pm, select their own pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, carve it in the Carving Cavern (judged daily, with prizes), listen to the story of Spookley the Square Pumpkin (with its anti bullying message) & taste pumpkin recipes in the Creamery Café.

Elizabeth Beckett Skincare are about to start stocking the ‘Young Blood’ make up range, which they’re promoting on Wednesday October 22nd in the Creamery Café at 5.30pm.

Lottie’s have their home furnishings range in stock & are preparing for a Christmas fashion show on Saturday November 8th, to coincide with the Apley Christmas launch & lights.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,582 other followers