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May 5, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Car boot sale fundraising for RDA centre

Christina Trevanion, BBC valuer from Bargain Hunt & Flog It

Next Sunday (12 May), head off to the Isle Estate near Shrewsbury for a Country House Car Boot sale, 9-3pm, fundraising for the new RDA Cavalier Centre near Much Wenlock. There are sure to be some fabulous treasures awaiting new homes. The RDA Cavalier Centre is one of the two charities supported by Apley Farm Shop, the other being Operation Orphan.

What I really love about buying & selling anything secondhand is that it at least delays the moment when that item is put in a landfill or is destroyed. The longer the life of any item, the less we all consume, which helps protect our environment of course.

But sometimes it’s just tricky or time consuming finding the right owner for something you no longer want. Car boot sales can speed up that process. Especially with Christina Trevanion, BBC valuer from Bargain Hunt & Flog It. Click HERE to read about the BBC’s Bargain Hunt. Click HERE to read about the BBC’s Flog It.

April 26, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Shooting Gazette article about Apley Smoked Pheasant

We’re very lucky the Shooting Gazette came to chat to us about our Apley Smoked Pheasant & take some photos (I’m truly the least photogenic person ever – for one, I move too much!). Luckily that lovely spring sunshine held for us & we spent a fun few hours with our gamekeepers Gary & Dave, looking very smart in their shooting tweed. It’s an all year round product, perfect for summer picnics, so we just set up our usual style picnic to show how we enjoy it ourselves.

I managed to take this photo of the scene, to give you an idea.

I’m very passionate about using pheasant in this smoked, ready to eat form. It’s so widely available & yet under appreciated. It freezes well, which means it doesn’t have to be only enjoyed in the 3 months game season (when some people get a bit fed up with the glut!). Far more game is eaten on the continent & I believe strongly that pheasant (smoked or not) really should become the fifth meat, alongside pork, lamb, beef & chicken. It’s the ultimate free range meat, living in the woods shown in this photo.

Talking Game Magazine has some of the best pheasant recipes I’ve seen. Click HERE to get inspired, fish some out of your freezer & get cooking!

Before I go, last thing, twin packs of Smoked Pheasant are now available.

April 20, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Chainsaw sculptor at Apley Farm Shop, Sunday & Monday

Dave Bytheway, Chainsaw sculptor: 07855 193 609

Come & watch Dave Bytheway carve beautiful sculptures from the Apley Estate woodlands. He’s working on the Skylark Nature Trail’s entrance archway at Apley Farm Shop, on Sunday 21 & Monday 22 April 10-4pm. His sculptures are for sale & there’s plenty to choose from. They make great garden ornaments.

Walk the nature trail to discover which ones our Apley Estate men have installed.

Click HERE to watch a time lapse.

PLUS, we have lots of Easter Funday activities in Pigg’s Playbarn; It’s fine just to turn up, but if you prefer to book, just click HERE.

Enjoy delicious meals in the Creamery Cafe, barbecue meats on the butchery counter, cheeses on the delicatessen counter, wines & beers in the Food Hall, shopping in the courtyard including the stunning Moongate Plant Centre.

PS from photographer Steve Watts: “The time lapse was built from over 2000 photos shot at 2 second intervals over the course of about 90 minutes and then the photos were run at 25 frames per second. I love the bit where Dave cuts the claws!”


April 10, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Watch chainsaw sculptor at Apley Farm Shop, 11 & 12 April

The air is full of the smell of cedar wood at Apley Farm Shop this week as Dave Bytheway sculpts beautiful birds & animals from Apley Estate wood. We’ll be positioning them around the Skylark Nature Trail, which starts & finishes in our car park.

Free nature trail guides will be available next week to take on your walks.

Watch Dave Bytheway, a very talented chainsaw sculptor working at Apley Farm Shop Thursday & Friday (11 & 12 April), creating sculptures for our Skylark Nature Trail. Get a sneaky preview by watching this FILM of him working today.

There is now a small charge. Turn up, pay in shop & walk or book online before you leave home.

We also have a super cafe, Food Hall, Playbarn, shopping, parking & masses to do for all ages. The Apley Maze will reopen mid July.

To contact Dave Bytheway call 07855 193 609 or find him on Facebook


To contact Steve who made this film & photos, visit A Decent Exposure Photography

April 8, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Ever wondered how to spatchcock a chicken

Have you ever wondered how to spatchcock a chicken? Here is one of Apley Farm Shop’s butchers showing you how it’s done. This is the first in a series of ‘How to’ films we are compiling to help our customers know how to make the most of the meats they buy from us. If you can’t make it to our farm shop in Shropshire TF11 9EF, just visit

And the new thing you may now be wondering is the origin of this funny word. It goes back to 1775–85 & is apparently an alteration of spitchcock, which is itself perhaps a plausible but incorrect shortening of dispatch cock. Spatchcock chicken would make a delicious alternative to lamb on Easter Sunday & is very easy to cook on a barbecue, when the sun’s out!

April 8, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Tractor rally raises £1300 for Midlands Air Ambulance

Deep snow for 2018 tractor rally

Yesterday, 88 members of The Bridgnorth Vintage Machinery Club (BVMC) arrived at Apley Farm Shop on their vintage tractors for their annual tractor rally. Only one breakdown & no snow this year- remember last year?!

Every year they fundraise for Midlands Air Ambulance & this year raised a fabulous £1300. We are already looking forward to next year’s rally on Sunday 29 March 2020. 

Please call David Spruce on 07986 17 07 15 with any enquiries.

Steve Watts of A Decent Exposure Photography took these super photos. 07446 140 448

March 25, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Celebrate Mothers’ Day at Apley Farm Shop

Flowers from Big Little Things in our shopping courtyard or plants from the Moongate Plant Centre

Celebrate Mothers’ Day on Sunday 31 March at Apley Farm Shop with BreakfastLunch or Afternoon Tea in our Creamery Cafe.
Book online by clicking HERE. Our menu, times & prices are all just here too. To summarise:


  • Breakfast 9:30-11:00am
  • Lunch 12noon, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm
  • Afternoon Teas in our Conference Room 12 noon, 2pm or 4pm
  • Afternoon Teas in our Cafe 4pm


Breakfast is £8.50 per adult or £5 per child.
Lunch for children is £10
Lunch for adults is £20 for 2 courses or £25 for 3 courses
Afternoon Teas are £20 per adult & £8 per child


Here’s our quick checklist of ways to treat your Mother !:

  • Apley Experiences make great Mothers’ Day presents
  • Our Food Hall has a selection of cards & presents (edible & non-edible) which can be bought online
  • Order her flowers from Big Little Things in the Apley Courtyard
  • Cook & eat at home – just pick up a Meal Deal from the Apley Butchery counter
  • Add a bottle of Prosecco & chocolates – just mention to our cafe staff
  • Not together this Sunday ? Buy her an Apley Gift Voucher
  • Fill you own hamper or order one online
March 6, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Fine Food Show of the North

Have you ever wondered how small producers of fine food & drink get their products spotted & ultimately sold in our food shops around the UK? Some brands were once ‘brand’ new to us, but are now familiar. One of the ways is The Speciality Fine Food Show in London in September & the Fine Food Show North (FFSN) in Harrogate in March. Both are organised by the wonderful Guild of Fine Food (GFF) who are largely responsible (with others) for facilitating the arrival of delicious food & drink into our homes. Think how much you like reeeeeally good food, how important it is in our lives, in making us happy & healthy.

I’ll be taking Lord Hamilton’s Apley Estate Smoked Pheasant to the Fine Food Show of the North 10-11 March for the first time, hopefully to successfully share with others my passion for it & the health benefits it can bring us all.

It’s smoked by multi award-winning MacNeil’s Smokehouse in Worcestershire, currently only sold in Apley Farm Shop in Shropshire but also available to anyone anywhere via ApleyOnline. Most importantly, it’s available in unlimited supply & all year round!

I’ll be on stand F12, a great corner & central location. It’s a trade fair for foodies & because it’s food, it’s fun too! Watch HERE what it’s all about.

March 1, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Hear local author at Pigg’s Playbarn, Sat 9 March

We’re welcoming local author Sarah Baker into Pigg’s Playbarn at Apley Farm Shop on Saturday 9 March 1pm. She will read from her first book, the Catalpult Kid, written for 3-6 yr olds. No need to book. Please be seated in our Conference Room by 12:45pm, above the Food Hall.

Any queries to 01952 581 002 or


February 21, 2019 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Farming update

Food & farming are core to Apley Farm Shop, which is set in the heart of the Apley Estate (in Shropshire, UK) where our farming operations develop & progress every year. I will endeavour to continue to share notes on a range of food & farming issues such as vaccinations, fertilising, free range, alternative crops, food miles, Brexit, sustainability, soils, climate, fads & veganism.

Our farm manager Adrian Joynt, has just sent me this update which I thought may be of interest to our farm shop customers but also to other farms & estates.


Vaccinations are used to prevent disease & reduce antibiotic use. The need to vaccinate is confirmed by blood tests & veterinary advice. Cattle graze extensively on permanent pasture which is an environmentally friendly method of farming, as it contains a mix of grass species, herbs & wild flowers. The grass also acts as carbon sink. Herbicides are only used where necessary to control invasive weeds (docks, nettles & thistles) & poisonous weeds (ragwort). All the livestock manure is applied to the arable soils (ie spread in fields where wheat, oats or barley are growing) to return nutrients & organic matter to the soil.


These are applied to crops based on the soil type, previous use of organic manures & the crop requirements. All the arable fields have been mapped into one hectare blocks for the soil reserves of potash, phosphate, magnesium & lime. The fertiliser or lime is applied using precision farming techniques at variable rates to only the areas of the field that require it. The reasons for this are to avoid waste of nutrients by over-application, to maintain or increase crop yields by ensuring that there is adequate nutrition & to improve water quality.


Our cultivation strategy is mainly “min till” (ie. minimum cultivating before planting) or non inversion, by cultivating shallower & not inverting (turning it over) the soil. The result is that the soil structure improves, drainage improves & soil organic matter is maintained (soil organic matter is lost by oxidation when air is incorporated into the soil). The plough is used when there is a need to control grass weeds (grass seeds do not usually emerge from depth & degrade in the soil relatively quickly). Min till cultivation requires less power & fuel.

We  apply chicken muck & sewage sludge to improve the soils on the farms. This helps to maintain soil structure & moisture retention by raising the organic matter content, as well as providing valuable nutrients & trace elements.

Cover crops

Cover crops are grown on much of the land for spring cropping (ie. planting in the spring). These use nutrients (nitrogen, sulphur & phosphate) that would otherwise be leached out of the soil over the winter period & into the water courses & groundwater. The roots of these crops are useful in maintaining & improving soil structure. Firstly they penetrate the soil & then as they decompose they provide organic matter & channels for water to drain through.

A range of crops are grown in rotation to prevent the build up of disease, particularly soil borne diseases such as Club Root & Take All. Varietal selection (eg we can choose a different variety of wheat) of each crop is based on yield & disease resistance.

If you’ve found this interesting, look out for new posts on this blog & in our enewsletter. If you don’t get the latter, but would like to, just click HERE.

You can watch the farming year from our Skylark Nature Trail which is a free 45 min walk starting from & finishing in the car park at Apley Farm Shop (TF11 9EF).