Tag Archives: Middle Farm

Newick and Middle Farm Shop

4 Dec

The run

Not a good start to the day, being punched awake by the husband who was attempting to do ‘pinch, punch first of the month’ on my shoulder but got my face instead.

Dear daughter was very slow in getting herself up and ready this morning, how someone can spend 20 minutes staring at their breakfast before eating it is beyond me.

I had found a route on Walk, Jog, Run, a circular route of about 5 miles near Chailey, near to Townings Farm Shop that I needed to go to in order to collect my Christmas cake (un-iced). The route began at Newick and went to Fletchling before circling back. I discovered I could export the file from Walk, Jog, Run as a gpx file and load it into Great Britain Outdoors thus saving myself the work of plotting it all over again. This kind of worked although the loop did appear twice, I am not sure if this was because Dave (user 745381 at Walk, Jog, Run) had done the route twice or because of some other anomaly. Anyway it seemed good enough and off I went.

First impressions of Newick; I parked outside the Post Office and walked down to the fine village green, which had two pubs on it and a row of shops comprising general store, estate agents, butchers and pharmacy with a bakers across the road.

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There was also an Indian restaurant and a chiropodist; so bigger than I had imagined and with quite a busy road running through it. Also a beautiful village pump, which according to villagepumps.org.uk was donated by a local plumber in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – and it still works!

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Just working with the app today, no written directions like I normally have, and it was surprisingly difficult to get on the right route, although the cycle lane through the housing estates seemed like something a runner would want to utilise.

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It passed by some allotments and up into a modern housing estate.

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From here it was unclear which way to go next and I ended up circling around a bit and ending up where I started! Tried again, with variations, but most alternatives seemed to involve going on private land which I was not keen to do. I must have spent at least 40 minutes in this manner before finding a signed track beside farmland which also followed the route on the app.

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There was a bit of a commotion going on in the field with a flock of birds – squawking and fighting, the occasional one jumping a foot into the air, and the whole flock moving at speed across the field. I couldn’t really see what type of birds they were but assumed they must be some type of fowl.

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I continued on and the route seemed possible, a very cold, grey day, I was glad of the gloves, hat and scarf I had brought. I passed the water treatment plant and headed off across a field on which a clear muddy track was marked. This seemed to be going okay until the track forked off in two different directions, neither of which seemed to tally with my app. It was getting on for 11 o’clock and my blue dot was still hovering around near the starting point so I decided to sit down and have my coffee and pumpkin energy ball while I considered what to do.

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After my refreshments I decided to head back to the car: sometimes things do not work out and it was bitterly cold. I had had a walk and seen a bit of Newark – that would have to do for today. I have decided in future it is best to have written instructions and use the app as back-up.

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The farm

Headed for Townings Farm Shop to collect my Christmas cake and buy a few vegetables.

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Afterwards I drove to Middle Farm which is the largest and (probably) best farm shop in the area.

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They have several shops on site; a gift shop (traditional toys and homewares), a cider and Perry shop, plants and Christmas trees and wreaths, a cafe and an excellent farm shop with a butchers, cheese shop, bakery and large selection of dried goods, vegetables, confectionary and drinks. They also have lots of Christmas goods such as iced and un-iced Christmas cakes, Christmas puddings, chutneys and hampers – ready-made or to make yourself. I bought a few things which I can’t post here or Santa’s elves will have a fit!

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The lunch

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Asparagus, beetroot and feta salad with some salmon on the side, eaten in the salubrious comfort of my car!

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Waldron and Middle Farm Shop

17 Oct

The run

A very unpromising start to the day – heavy downpours interspersed with sunny spells – but you know what they say: ‘If it ain’t raining, it ain’t training’, so I dropped my daughter at college and headed off to Waldron on the second attempt to do the walk from the Star Inn. A busy weekend had meant little planning time so I just grabbed the sheets I had previously copied out of the Pub Strolls book and set off.

 

It seemed simple enough to start with, The Star Inn being next to the church where the walk began. The first instruction was to take a stile over the back of the churchyard and cross a field. Firstly, it was very difficult to tell the front from the back of the church as they both had entrances, and secondly there was no stile, but a kissing gate.

Timmy and Roger

Timmy and Roger

Quite an interesting graveyard here, these are the graves of Timmy and Roger not sure if they are for babies or animals?

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Once into the field and not at all confidant that I was following the instructions correctly I decided to abandon the walk on the paper in front of me and use my visual memory and the way markers to guide me. As long as I remember where I have been then I shall be able to get back I reasoned.

All was well, I followed the way markers over stiles and through a horses’ field. In terms of livestock I am not quite sure where I stand on horses. They are large, granted, but I perceive them to be intelligent and friendly, however I skirted the edge of the field and kept my distance from the head-tossing mare.

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At this point I could see no more way markers and was surrounded by fields of horses, I made my way to what looked like a farm entrance and passed a lady practicing her show-jumping. She informed me that the path was back the way I had come and so I turned around and headed through another field, exiting onto the road in the village of Cade Street where I also spotted this memorial – or warning to traitors! The full story of Jack Cade’s rebellion is here.

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By this point I was on the road and using my phone to guide me – it looked like Waldron was some miles away but that did not seem logical with the short distance I had cut across fields and woods.

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Continued on, taking the old Heathfield road and was soon surprised to be running past my car! Shorter than I would have liked, however I decided to finish and eat my snack on the bench by the roadside. I could see two police women in the village and was approached by one who asked if I had seen an elderly lady on my run. The 67-year-old had not been seen since yesterday and they feared she may have got lost or taken ill. Sadly I couldn’t help them – I hope they found her?

 

The farm

Mondays are tricky for farm shops. I had located one, Redlands Farm Shop, however no opening hours on their website and no answer when I telephoned. When I went there it was closed, but fortunately, having plenty of time I decided to revisit one of my favourites: Middle Farm. I wanted to buy some healthy ready meals for my husband and son (as I am teaching an evening class on Mondays now) and also stock up on some organic chicken for my Challenge! I bought chicken, mackerel and some frozen ready meals (both vegetarian and meat). They seemed to go down well.

The lunch

As I am on a 10-week Challenge through my gym, I had packed my own healthy lunch and ate it in the car. Thai beef salad and wholemeal pitta bread.

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Clayton and Offham Farm Shop

11 Oct

The run

This is a run I know well, most notably from participating in the Dewpond 7 (Sunday 22nd July 2012). This was my first race and I set off too hard (the encouragement of the marshall’s ringing in my ears “You’re doing great, first lady through”) only to fade later and be overtaken –  here’s a pic of me toiling through it – a truly horrible experience on a very hot day!

Dewpond 7 July 2012

Anyway, thankfully today’s run was nothing like that – it wasn’t exactly the same route either: the plan was to run from Clayton to Ditchling Beacon and back.

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It starts with a punishing uphill from Clayton Rec – within seconds you are out of breath and fighting to keep going, but once up on the Downs it becomes a pleasant off-road route on well-worn tracks surrounded by beautiful scenery. Saw several walkers and dog walkers: always mindful to greet them with a big cheery ‘hello’ (those serial killers are never far from my mind) so they would remember me.

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Straight up the hill to the Jack and Jill windmills

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Autumn colour in the hedgerows

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Why do bullocks congregate near the gate?

I am 47-years-old. I am scared of cattle. There, I’ve said it. Nervously entered the field with the bullocks and lightly jogged past them so as to not startle them. Always with my eye on an escape route, should I need it: a hedge or fence to dive over – maybe all that training for Warrior Run would pay off after all! On reaching the car park at Ditchling Beacon I looked for the ice cream van (wasn’t there – why would it be?) did a circuit of the car park and headed back to Clayton – bit easier with a nice pelt downhill at the end! Was tempted to do a victory lap of the recreation field as I had at Dewpond 7 but felt slightly self-conscious with the dog walker looking on!

The farm

I had high expectations for Offham Farm Shop as their roadside advertising is very good; along the lines of: “You are passing an excellent farm shop” so it had been on my radar since week 1. Therefore, when I walked in (having allowed plenty of time) I was a little disappointed to see a cold counter, a fridge, and a table of produce – not much here to while away a couple of hours, I thought. I had time to peruse the baked goods on offer and study the menu as no-one seemed in a rush to serve me. A fairly ordinary selection of lunchtime fayre such as soup, sandwiches, pies and sausage rolls. The cakes looked more interesting (don’t they always!): almond slices, homemade cookies, rocky road fridge cake etc. This felt more like a working farm with a small cafe and shop rather than some of the more ‘attraction’ led farms I had been to. The butcher was seen out back chopping up the meat while his wife (she says presumptuously) bustled around the cafe and made the pies and cakes. The speciality here being: good honest, plain food, largely consisting of meat and pastry. For my purchase this week I chose a beef and venison pie which was delicious and chock full of good quality meat. I was tempted by the pork and marmite sausages but they will have to wait for another occasion.

Beef and venison pie, Offham Farm Shop

The lunch

As it was too early for lunch,  I settled on an apricot and almond slice and a mug of coffee before finding a seat in the cafe where a man sat at a table, napping quietly, threatening to slide off his chair. I sat reading the newspaper for an hour enjoying the slow trade of truck-stop clientele and the grandmother with her grandson who chanted incessantly “I want a baby ‘cino with a marshmallow” – “you won’t get that here, son” I thought as she distracted him with a toasted muffin. Time passed and I decided to order the soup and crusty bread from the uninspiring menu. The soup was reasonable but the bread was clearly supermarket wholemeal sliced which was a disappointment, especially as they had some fine-looking crusty bread for sale in their shop. In the yard outside they had a few of their animals on show: pigs and piglets, sheep and chickens as well as three black-and-white sheepdogs who hunkered down and looked as though they would like to round you up as you passed by.

piglets at Offham Farm

Next week’s sausages?

The freebie

Our erstwhile hitchhiker, Simon has suggested next week’s run, so that shall be our freebie of the day.

Streat and Middle Farm

9 Oct

The run

My friends, who live locally, recommended this route through Streat and past the Half Moon Pub. The run began at the corner of Streat Lane and was mainly on quiet-ish country roads. I passed through the pretty village of Streat before heading off past Plumpton racecourse where I needed to ask a fellow runner – the only one I saw – to check I was going in the right direction. Fairly flat and circular, my only criticism of this route is that it is mainly on roads and when a car does come along you feel the need to dive into the hedge!

Streat circular run

The farm

I headed off to Middle Farm in Firle for lunch and to buy some produce from the farm shop, this is a farm I know pretty well from visits with children and stopovers from the A27. The shop is really excellent and sells a wide range of goods from fresh meat, bread, pies and pasties to jams and chutneys made on the farm. They also do a great line in cider, so I am told. I bought some of their Strawberry and Gooseberry Jam which I enjoyed with my friend Margaret on some homemade scones at the weekend.

Homemade scones with Strawberry and Gooseberry Jam from Middle Farm, Firle

The lunch

I ummed and aawed about whether I had time for lunch in the cafe, it was a nice day so to sit in the car eating a pastie wasn’t really appealing. I decided to order one of the specials: a roast squash quiche with salad. I took a seat outside and amused myself watching the toddlers run around, listening to the Mums discussing their off springs latest feats. 15 minutes passed. 20 minutes passed. I was beginning to get twitchy as I had to collect my daughter from Plumpton College and I was running out of time. I prompted the staff who assured me it wouldn’t be long, however it was rushed when it finally came and spoiled the enjoyment. Didn’t quite understand it because they weren’t particularly busy…perhaps I just have to adjust to a slower pace..

The freebie

My friend, Mustak gave me a big box of cooking apples from his garden, so far we have made crumble, chutney, an apple cake, and there’s even talk of a strudel…

Cooking apples

I have a few takers for this already:

Spiced apple chutney