Skip to content
March 19, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden progress

2015-18-03, First potatoes go in

Parsley springs into life

Parsley springs into life

Phil Allen, Head Gardener of Apley Walled Garden, has just sent me these photos of the first potatoes planted only yesterday. Picked early, the potatoes are small, firm & waxy. When left to mature, it’s a large kidney shape which are great for boiling.

Parsley has been grown in Britain at least since the 17th century. The flat leaved varieties have a slightly lighter & sharper flavour than the curly sorts. Not only is it beneficial for humans, but it was commonly thrown into fish ponds if the fish became ill & sheep were fed it to cure them of liver fluke !

Available this week are baby mizuna leaves, red leafed spinach, carrots, Red Boar kale & parsnips.

Also coming through, but growing to order for The Creamery Café’s head chef Martin for Easter are: rocket, mizuna, radishes, rhubarb, pak choi, coriander, red amarynth leaves, red & green leaf spinach.

Phil also grew to order this delicious list of vegetables for Mothers’ Day last Sunday (so now of course they’ve now all been eaten up !): rocket, mizuna, radishes, rhubarb, pak choi, coriander, red amarynth leaves, red & green leaf spinach. As well as thyme, Creamery chef Martin made a rosemary cake & needed extra for cooking with lamb, so ordered 1kg of rosemary – that’s a lot of rosemary !

March 18, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Natural skincare from Elizabeth Beckett Skincare at Apley Farm Shop



Elizabeth Beckett skincare

Elizabeth Beckett skincare

There’s a wonderful array of natural skincare, mineral makeup, living colognes, candles & soaps available in the Elizabeth Beckett Skincare shop at Apley Farm Shop. There’s also some luxurious treatments available including relaxing massages, manicures, pedicures & makeovers. Pop in & meet Alison, Lydia & Elizabeth to discuss your skincare needs or to find that perfect Easter present !

I asked Elizabeth Beckett Skincare to update me a bit:

“We use local ingredients as much as we possibly can, with the main constituent in all our creams & oils being Shropshire Rapeseed oil. We use this oil because it’s packed with Vitamin E & is brilliant for dry skin conditions. Our products are especially good for dry & mature skin & is particularly good for sufferers of eczema & psoriasis because there’s no synthetic colours, smells or parabens! We have just launched another product which has received rave reviews from Professional Spa & Wellness Magazine & is wonderful for oily skin types as well as dry skins – this is our newest product – Rose & Frankincense Facial Oil.

Her are just some of her many customer reviews which give a good idea of what Elizabeth is doing & making:

  • I’m really pleased – one of my clients who has really sensitive skin & has problems finding products that suit has really loved the Rose & frankincense cream & it suits her skin really well :) Kerry, Bridgnorth
  • Another Rose & Frankincense fan who suffers with eczema “I came in two weeks ago to get some of your lavender cream. You gave me a sample of your rose face cream. It works great! I came in yesterday & got a 50ml tub. Thank you my skin feels great.” Millie, Bridgnorth
  • “Thank-you so much for the free sample of rose & frankincense facial oil, it’s fabulous! Am using every evening & am now a complete fan of your beautiful products & have moved away from another Liz’s brand!” Carole, Telford
  • Debby loves the Dewy Geranium Cleansing Cream followed by Rose & Frankincense Night & Day Cream “Although it’s a thick cream, it isn’t heavy & I love using it in the morning & evenings” Debby, Shifnal



Ps if you are not sure ! A living cologne is a perfume which can be worn or used as a room scent

March 17, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley – cake of the week

2014-09-29, Carrot Cake 2015-03-05,-ginger-cake-2 2015-03-05,-ginger-cake-1Now if like me, you’re getting a bit peckish, the sight of these Apley Farm Shop cakes is very welcome. Every week we have a Cake of the Week & this week Julie told me it was carrot. It was ginger a few weeks ago, but it takes a while to perfect ginger cake (Gavin’s favourite), to get it moist enough but also avoiding letting it sink in the middle ! So here they are both together. Delicious !



March 16, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Ploughing match on the Apley Estate

Ploughing match

Ploughing match – with horses


Bridgnorth won 40-3 to Northampton, so are through to the finals of the Midlands Cup

2015-03-08 Ploughing match 1

Ploughing match

Ploughing matchYesterday, was cold but at least drier than last Sunday 8 March, which was rather rainy day for our local ploughing match at Grindle, on the edge of the Apley Estate. Organised by the Morville Countryside Club with all proceeds going towards the Midlands Air Ambulance, with about 70 men taking part. Gavin & Francis went to present prizes but naturally left the judging to the experts !

This is an extremely country issue to be writing about I know, but ploughing is critical farming – it’s the beginning of the soil preparation process. When done properly, seeds of the next crop have the best chance of survival & ultimate success in producing a high yield. Your loaf of bread starts right here & takes a year to create …

Gavin & our Apley Farm Manager, Adrian Joynt sent me these photos – competitors used old & new tractors & some even horses.

I have to admit I absolutely don’t usually follow ploughing or rugby !, but on Saturday 14 March, Gavin took Francis (who plays rugby on Sunday mornings) to see Bridgnorth winning 40-3 against Northampton, in the Midlands Cup, making them the best in the Midlands at their level (7) – all very exciting for Bridgnorth !

March 15, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Photography course at Apley Farm Shop

Karen HB's Photography course at Apley

Karen HB’s Photography course at Apley

Local photographer Karen Hartnell-Beavis has successfully held photography courses in the past at Apley Farm Shop, so will be back again this Spring (Tues 12 May, 10-4pm) ! She sent me this to fill me in:

“Do you want to take better photos? Do you own a camera but don’t understand the settings?

This one day course will help improve your photography by guiding you through the technical aspects of your camera, helping you with composition and how to be more creative with your picture taking and will include a session on the digital side from editing to storing and sharing your images.”

Karen HB [as she’s known] has worked as a freelance photographer for 17 years, she started out doing travel, documentary and press work, and now focuses on products and food, having shot many landscapes, weddings and portraits through the years. Whatever your subject help is at hand…

Please contact Karen for further information or to book your place: or 01952 730 856. Click HERE to see her work.

March 14, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

‘Crossing the River’ [Severn], book signing at Apley Farm Shop

Neil Clarke, Crossing the River, author

Neil Clarke, Crossing the River, author

Crossing the Rivers by Neil Clark

Crossing the Rivers by Neil Clarke

Apley ferry c1910, Dennis Price's photo

Apley ferry c1910, Dennis Price’s photo

Apley ferry 1810, Source - Stephen Dewhirst

Apley ferry 1810, Source – Stephen Dewhirst

Apley Bridge & ferry, March 1908, Source: Bill Rowley

Apley Bridge & ferry, March 1908, Source: Bill Rowley

Neil Clarke will be signing copies of his book ‘Crossing the River’ in Apley Farm Shop on Wednesday 15th April, 12-2pm. The book is an historical survey of the ford & ferry river crossings of the Shropshire Severn, tracing their origin, varied uses & eventual demise, when most were replaced by bridges.

Here are 3 river crossing images I’ve gathered whilst compiling the 3 Apley Archives Exhibitions held in The Creamery Café at Apley Farm Shop in 2014.

‘Crossing the River: Fords & Ferries on the Shropshire Severn’ is due to be published by the Railway & Canal Historical Society in March. It includes a mid-19th century engraving of Apley Hall which shows the lower ferry, & also mentions the two Apley ferries & the ferry lower down the river which crossed from Newton to Astley Abbots.

The book will be available for sale at a lecture he is giving to the Shropshire Archaeological & Historical Society at the Shirehall in Shrewsbury on Saturday 14th March. It will be officially launched at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum on Saturday 21st March.

He’s also working on a book ‘Waterways of East Shropshire Through Time’ which will include one of the Hamilton family’s paintings, showing a barge on the river Severn being pulled upstream by a gang of bow haulers, with Apley Hall in the background. I’ll dig out an image of the painting tomorrow. Click HERE for more details.

March 13, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Mothers’ Day at Apley Farm Shop’s Creamery Cafe


2015-01-19, Creamery Cafe Afternoon tea 19 2015-01-19, Creamery Cafe Afternoon tea 31

This Sunday, it’s Mothers’ Day & at Apley Farm Shop’s Creamery Café & Function room we’re offering 12-4pm Afternoon Teas & 3 course lunches. Whilst our chef & his team have been getting ready, I asked a few mothers & their children what they mean to each other.

What they most like about being a mother:

  • They remind me daily of life’s essentials – food, shelter, love, laughter
  • Their needs are fairly simple – food, warmth & attention
  • They’re unconditionally affectionate & loving
  • Children get straight to the point – eg that man over there has ripped trousers Mummy !
  • They make me laugh daily
  • Keeps me fit & on my toes
  • My teenagers keep me feeling young, even if I don’t look it !
  • After my life, I’m leaving something behind to live on & enjoy what we’ve begun

Another mother added: “I personally thank all my children for allowing me to gain the experience of being a mum (as I often say to them no one takes you off and teaches you how to be a good mum – we can only do what we think is the right thing to do) we all have to learn together parents and children alike.”

And here are some replies some now-grown-up children:

A 34 yr old son said: “I would just say I love my mum more than anything in the world. My preference is a loving hug and sharing her company. I would also tell her how much I love her and how thankful we are for everything she does for us.

A 32yr old daughter said: “There are not enough words to describe what my mum means to me so here goes – My mum is beautiful, funny, caring, loving, my best friend the one to make me laugh and who now gives me the confidence to be a mum myself. If I am half the mum to my little girl that my mum has been to me I will be over the moon. My mum is quite simply Mary Poppins – practically perfect in every way.

I’ll ask some younger children & add their replies, which no doubt will be rather funny !

To make a booking in The Creamery, just call 01952 730 345 or email


March 12, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

What’s on in April at Apley Farm Shop

Rhubarb 2015

Rhubarb 2015

This year’s first rhubarb is in Apley Farm Shop – mix with granola, apple & raisins to make a great weekend family crumble. We have all the ingredients ready for you in the shop.

We’ve had such beautiful Spring days & as April is fast approaching, it’s time to be amongst the first to know What’s On at Apley in April ! Just click HERE for our short slideshow film.

In case you still need to know what’s on in the second half of March at Apley, just click here to see a short slideshow film of What’s On at Apley in March. It’s also in my blog of 3 March.

Take a look at our web adverts listed below, which are enabling us to accurately assess (with Google Analytics) how many people are seeing our adverts. I’ll be changing where we place these digital adverts throughout the year. I can’t do them all at once ! My next adverts will probably be with Virtual Shropshire, Shropshire Review & Telford Tourism.

We’ve also just agreed a special offer for children in care, with Max Card discounts & have created reciprocal discount vouchers with Ironbridge Gorge Museums. More on that very soon.




Shropshire Food & Drink
What’s What magazine
Wolverhampton West Magazine
In & Around
Raring 2 Go
The Family Grapevine
Yattar Yattar
Shropshire Star (just finished actually)


March 11, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Farm Shop – Science Club in Pigg’s Playbarn

Science Club - Oobleck

Science Club – Oobleck

It’s so easy for residents not to bother visiting their own tourist attractions. So whenever I get the chance, I take the children on a tourist outing here in London.

Last week we went to the Science Museum & arrived just in time to see a demonstration, which included showing us the properties of oobleck – which by chance is what the children at Pigg’s Playbarn Science Club have been making this afternoon. Rebecca says it’s really addictive to play with! It is a liquid, but becomes a solid when pressure is put on it – so if you made enough of it you could actually walk on it ! In the Science Museum, they stretched it like a rubber band, but when they tried to hammer it down with a mallet, it just bounced around like a rubber ball & couldn’t be flatten. It is easy to try at home, being only made of water, corn starch & food colouring. It is called a non-Newtonian fluid. At home, we use a set of free experiment postcards from, called ‘Do try this at home’.

This week, Thursday 12 March, they’re making bouncy balls – so bounce along & drop in 4-5pm.

March 10, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Cheeses of the Week at Apley Farm Shop

Sharpham Rustic with onion & chives

Sharpham Rustic with onion & chives

2015-03-02, Hereford Hop

Hereford Hop cheese

The delicatessen counter at Apley Farm Shop always has a Cheese of the Week, which was the Hereford Hop last week (£1.69 per 100g) & this week is the Sharpham Rustic with onion & chive (£2.15 per 100g)

Hereford Hop is a British cheese, handmade by Charles Martell, maker of the famous Stinking Bishop. He invented the cheese in 1990 on the Hunts Court Farm which is a few miles away from the Herefordshire border.

The hard cheese is made using natural rennet & full fat pasteurised cows’ milk. Coated with toasted hops, Hereford Hop produces citrusy, buttery & sharp flavours together with slight bitterness of the hops. A version made with raw milk is also available.

The Sharpham Rustic with onion & chive is a semi hard unpasteurised cheese made with Jersey cow’s milk. It has a fresh, lemony creamy flavour when young, developing a lovely nutty taste when mature.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,449 other followers