Tag Archives: woods

Boarshead and Laurel Fruit Farm Shop

10 Feb

The walk

I am well-organised for once! Spent some time yesterday looking through the pub strolls book, researching a walk to do and loading it into Outdoors GB. Having to go further afield now as I seem to have done most of the walks near Plumpton (in this book, anyway). So, after dropping the girl at college, I drove on another 40 minutes to just north of Crowborough – Boarshead, and started my walk from the access road just off the A26.

Boarshead loop

I had planned to continue on a few miles after the walk to visit a farm shop which I had also researched but I saw one right at the start of the walk: Laurel Fruit Farm Shop, so decided I would try that instead. Went wrong almost immediately, as I needed to, in fact, go through the farm entrance and start from there. I don’t know if the book is a little out of date now, but this seemed to be the theme of walk and I would have struggled without the app.

Laurel Fruit Farm

Lovely start to the route, walking through the farm orchard, with nice views over the fields, a flat, grey day, cold but not freezing. The hat and snood came out pretty quickly but I refrained from using my gloves as I have to take them on and off frequently to take photographs. Took a phone call from a work colleague and was nice to say I was in an orchard while she talked about work – it seemed a million miles away.

Laurel Fruit Farm

Pecan maple cookie

Through the orchard was a small seat and a view so I took the opportunity to have my coffee stop and maple cookie (recipe on The Kitchen Shed), I was hungry already despite the scrambled eggs and seeded toast I’d had for breakfast. After the break, I headed down across field, across a small stream and into another field, where things started to go wrong again, two paths presented themselves, one higher, one lower; I took the lower, by the meandering stream, which meant I missed the fingerpost sign I was looking for. I soon realised my mistake, however, after checking the app, and cut back up to it. Here, I felt the route instructions let me down, as they said to ignore paths right and left, when in fact I needed to turn left across the field to the woods. I eventually realised my mistake and tramped across the farmer’s field, which he was spraying, so I felt very self conscious and expected to hear a shout at any minute; ‘Get orf my land!’.

Laurel Fruit Farm

From there, a wooded section began, which was a little spooky! Some great tree roots to photograph though and a fair bit of uphill. Eventually coming out of the forest with nice views over the fields, from there it was simply a matter of following the unmade road back to the busy A26 and time to check out the farm shop!

The farm

 

Apples were clearly their specialty and they had a lot of different types: Cox, Gala, Fuji, Russet, Golden Delicious, Bramley etc. they could be bought loose or bagged up. I chose a bag of Gala and headed inside to see what else they sold. Apple juices, bread and cakes, pickles, a small selection of vegetables, greetings cards, and a fridge with a few cheeses and game. I chose some venison burgers and then headed for the Boar’s Head Inn for lunch. A nice old pub with open fires and low beams, dating from 1636, friendly and already with a few customers, though it wasn’t quite midday.

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The lunch

The food menu had a reasonable choice, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, soup and a list of mains including liver and bacon, plaice and chips, cottage pie and lamb shank. I ordered the special which was vegetable chilli and rice. I ordered early as the blackboard said all food was made to order so there could be a delay. I saw this as a good thing as it sounds like it is all home-cooked. The vegetable chilli didn’t disappoint, sweet and spicy just what you need on a cold day! Afterwards I had a filter coffee which came with a piece of melt-in-your-mouth marshmallow on the side.

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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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