I mention Church Farm Ardeley on Mrs Mummypenny often. Its a must visit place in Hertfordshire for a real life working farm, a great cafe, Jolly Waggoners Pub, beautiful farm shop, egg collecting, tractor rides and really lovely fruit and veg boxes. And the best bit..its free. How many places these days are free? Not many….
About the farm
Tim the farm owner very kindly gave me proper tour of the farm, showing Josh, Jack and I all the farms secrets. Here are the goslings, ducks and big geese:-)
The farm is small according to Tim, just 175 acres…wow, that seems pretty big to me..175 football pitches:-)
We first had a look around the orchards of apples, walnuts, plums and Tim showed me some of the camping spots and cabins that can be booked. Wooden cabins containing electricity, bed and a compost toilet..more my sort of camping. http://churchfarmardeley.co.uk/book-an-event/cabin-types.html
We saw the herd of beautiful red poll cows and calves, drove very close. Jack my 19 month old went crazy, he loves cows.
We saw a large flock of sheep, not so many lambs in the summer and drove past the many pig stys. There are soooo many pigs, piglets and rare breeds and you can get right up close and personal to them which is lovely!
We had a look around the many fields of sweetcorn, potatoes, onions, berries, tomatoes, herbs, carrots, parsnips, beans…I could go on and on. And these are the beautiful fruit and veg I get in my box every week. If you want one and live within 15 miles ( Letchworth, Stevenage, Hitchin, Ware, Hertford, Buntingford, Welwyn, Royston and all villages in between), £5 delivery charge to Harpenden/Biggleswade/Bishops Stortford, do mention me.
We ended back at the cafe/farm shop and I did my weekly meat shop; there is also an outside play area in the woods, play area with ride on toys next to cafe and an indoor play area for rainy days.
Here is the detail of whats on the farm, taken from their website.
- New orchard of 8 acres, 130 varieties of fruit: apples, gages, plums, cherries, quince, medlar, pears, damsons, mulberries and more
- Vicarage Field: 2 acre soft fruit enclosure, a little bit of ‘every berry’
- 250 Black Welsh Mountain & Lleyn sheep & rams
- 30 Red Poll cattle & bull plus followers
- 24 British Lop, Large White & Berkshire breeding sows plus boars
- 899Light Sussex, Cuckoo Maran, Black Rock, Rhode Island and White Leghorn Laying hens
- Poulet Anglais outdoor reared poultry
- Norfolk Black turkeys
- Embden geese
- Aylesbury ducks
- 3 Bee hives & Apiary Garden
- 20 acres of new woods in-filled with wild cherry and hazel
- 2 acre walnut orchard
- 4 acres of wild bird seeds and pollen/nectar mix
- 30 acres of woods, including: 3 acres of ancient hornbeam coppice, 7 acres of established 60 year old
- woodland and 20 acres of mixed, mainly hardwoods, planted over the past 10 years
- 2 acres of rough nesting ground amongst a line of old clay pits
- 2 ponds established in 1996, two more flood ponds and a new pond in the vegetable gardens
- Beards Oak Kitchen Gardens: 8 acres growing over 200 varieties of vegetables and herbs