South Chailey and Townings Farm Shop

26 Oct

The run

That coffee idea from last week? Definitely a good idea – coming back to the car after a wild and windy run and knowing that was waiting for me – motivation, people, motivation. The peanut butter sandwich helped too.

Okay, the intention today was to do a pretty circular route I found on Travel Log Lewes Walks, but as usual, as I set off and couldn’t work out which way ‘South’ was, and as there were two bus stops (one on either side if the road) the instruction about starting at the bus stop didn’t help either. So, after a false start and running up and down the road a few times, I saw a sign for a bridleway at the brick works (quite impressed they have a brickworks factory – hey at least this country is still making something eh?).

South Chailey brickworks

South Chailey brickworks

Started off as a very pretty run, seems like horsey country – lots of big fields with jumps in, large ranchy houses. Quickly led in to more wooded country, very muddy after last night’s storm, but clearly well-used by horses (if you know what I mean). It wound on. This is when I started getting proper psyched. Thinking about The Killing and Rachel Nickell, the woman who was stabbed on Wimbledom Common – go away scary thoughts! I picked up the pace haring through those woods (though you couldn’t tell from my average pace, lol).

Chailey-loop

Chailey-loop

Scaring myself silly

Scaring myself silly

Would it be better to meet someone, or not meet someone? Kept thinking about turning back, but a green field to my right and not wanting to admit defeat spurred me on. Much to my relief I finally came out onto a road, which I was going to complete my route on (thank god for GPS or I would have been completely lost by now) but…after only a few hundred yards I was tempted back onto a footpath by a sign. Lots of stiles to climb and more wondering if I was going the right way until I joined Markstakes Lane which did complete my route back past the brickworks. Plenty of countryside bounty on the route today: apples, blackberries, crab apples, hips and haws (not sure what you do with those?) a giant mushroom (but I don’t know my mushrooms so have no idea if it was edible – am certainly not up for experimenting with that!)

The farm shop

The good folks at Middleton Common Farm Shop suggested I come here, last week, so off I went. Up a single track road in the car (these give me the fear – imagine meeting something coming the other way!) to a fairly underwhelming exterior – I had been led to believe that this would be a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of a hallowe’en extravaganza. There were a few pumpkins outside which made a welcoming display.

pumpkins

On entering the shop (the only customer) I was met by a very friendly lady who obviously owned the farm with her family. She explained to me all about the meat on sale – their speciality – which was rare breed and sustainable. They also had locally sourced produce (jams, chutney, cheese) and some items that would make good Christmas presents (chocolates, knitted items and a book, I know someone would like). I spotted Auntie Val’s Date and Banana chutney which I was very tempted to buy in honour of my Auntie Val, but resisted as I have other priorities this week (and not much money, besides I have a cupboard full of homemade chutney, see Streat and Middle Farm). Eventually, I chose cheese, a gift for my son’s girlfriend – Brownie-making kit, and a Hebridean leg of lamb (which can be mistaken for beef apparently – I look forward to tasting its earthy flavours) along with some redcurrant gravy (as the husband and I are just rubbish at making gravy). Hopefully we can share this with our guests this week. After making my purchases I chatted to the lady a bit more about possible lunch stops (she is considering opening a cafe but hasn’t got that far yet), and the tearoom at Chailey Cross was recommended. Before I left I went to see the pumpkin barn, had a quick look at the ‘special care’ sheep in the field outside and tried to snap the handsome roosters who were strolling around the farmyard.

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The lunch

Lunch turned into a bit of a wild goose chase: the tearoom at Chailey I couldn’t find, I found the church and the cross, but didn’t see a tearoom but couldn’t be sure I had followed directions correctly, so turned around and headed back to the Five Bells Pub I had seen on the road. Very disappointed to find the kitchen was being renovated and there would be no food today. Decided to head back to my ‘fallback’ which was the Half Moon Pub at Plumpton, which I had heard lots of good things about from my friend Mustak, so parked up and headed inside. A popular place; quite a few clientele, though it was barely 12. Felt a little snooty on entering, all choral music and waitresses dressed far better than I was (not difficult if you enter in muddy running gear – quickly sorted that one, by heading for the toilets and having a quick change). Decided to choose from the lunchtime specials menu (2 courses for £11), as the main courses were £10 upwards (even a sandwich was £8 – you can tell it is end of the month eh?). I chose the chilli and pea risotto with leaves, (is there a pea thing going on? It was pea soup last week, see Ditchling Common Country Park and Middleton Common Farm Shop) which was lovely and delicate, not too spicy and perfectly moist – not too big a portion either, as risotto can be hard work after a while. For dessert I had vanilla and grappa pana cotta with a white peach coulis (get me!), it was delicious and beautifully presented – I would have like to take a photograph but felt a little self-conscious.

The freebie

Blackberries from the hedgerows! They got a little squished from being in my running jacket pocket (which is now a lovely shade of purple) but we made a fine apple and blackberry crumble in the evening which my guests very much enjoyed (it was secret crumble night, as the husband deplores cooked fruit we can only eat it once he goes out).

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3 Responses to “South Chailey and Townings Farm Shop”

  1. morden20 October 27, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    Great blog Clare. Sneaky photos of lunch please !

  2. claredavey October 27, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Yes! Will try to be braver!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ringmer and The Plough at Plumpton Green | Wednesdays in the country - September 22, 2014

    […] many farm shops are closed on Mondays so this aspect is becoming more challenging. I headed back to Townings Farm Shop at Chailey as it is almost a year since I have visited and they seemed keen to expand their […]

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