Croft Castle by Catherine Evans :: 19th April 2017

 

Croft CastleJust over the border into Herefordshire lies Croft Castle, a National Trust property, more like a small stately home than a castle, with extensive grounds and scenic walks. The house has a lived in feel and is a manageable size, not too grand. As some of the family still live there the upstairs rooms are mainly out of bounds.

There is a large walled garden with glasshouses and work is ongoing to restore and reuse the large greenhouses. If you are there at the right time there will be plants for sale from the garden. Allow time for tea and cakes from the tea room then set off on one of the many way marked walks through the grounds – we did the Carriage walk which took just over an hour through the woodland. It is also possible to walk to the ancient Hill Fort at Croft Ambrey.

Ludlow Castle from Whitcliffe CommonThe drive back through Wigmore and over Whitcliffe Common took in the iconic views of Ludlow and beyond to Titterstone and Brown Clees and the Long Mynd.

Spring Sunshine by Catherine Evans :: 27th March 2017

Spring sunshine

Another beautiful day today – hopefully Spring is just around the corner! The only downside of extra light in the evenings is that the Farmer in my life doesn’t come home until it’s dark! There is always something to do during daylight hours and at the moment it is catching up with spraying whilst the weather is dry and the wind is calm. Lambing continues a pace and I have 2 bottle fed lambs here at Broome Park, recently named Dottie and Lottie! Hopefully our own few ewes will lamb successfully in the next few weeks.

Refurbished Bathrooms by Catherine Evans :: 26th February 2017

Bathroom - Red Room

Bathroom sink

 

 

The winter months are always the time to carry out repairs and refurbishment. This year I have concentrated on the bathrooms and both are now beautifully tiled on 2 walls and the floor. The small light over the sink has also been replaced by a state of the art LED illuminated mirror with shaving socket which should help with the overall light levels in the room.

 

Grandmother's Footsteps! by Catherine Evans :: 06th December 2016

Mack and the sheepDo you remember playing Grandmother’s Footsteps as a child? Where you creep up behind the wolf and hope to catch him before he spots you moving? I feel that the sheep want to play too! These are our 2 bottle fed lambs from the Spring, now fully grown and hopefully expecting lambs themselves. However I think they still think either Mack or myself are their mother! Every time we enter the field they come running up and want to play, often chasing Mack around, they will then follow us around the field whilst all the other ewes give us a wide berth!

The Shropshire Prune by Catherine Evans :: 23rd September 2016

Damson gin ingredients The Shropshire Prune is our very own damson, possibly the oldest known variety of damson in the UK, having been named as such on a piece of tapestry dating from the late 1500s that is housed in Shrewsbury museum. There are several trees around the farm and we always have a glut. Damsons make my favourite jam and also are a delicious alternative to sloes in fruit gin. I have been busy making both this week. First the damson gin – I am not sure I should admit to making in a demi-john but it always get drunk so why not! First pick your damsons, I use about 6 lbs damsons, 3 lbs sugar and 1 litre of gin (the cheapest I can get at the supermarket!). Prick each damson a few times and add to demi-john, when about 4cm in jar cover with sugar, continue until jar is full to top then gradually add gin.

Waiting for drinking!Seal with a stopper and shake. The gin will need regular shaking until all the sugar has dissolved. Store in a dark place for flavours and colour to develop. The damson gin will be ready to drink by Christmas but if you can keep a little longer improves with time!

I love making jam and sell it in the B&B. Generally I use equal quantities of fruit and sugar but as I don’t like stones or skin in my jam I make a fruit puree first using 3 lbs damsons and 1/2 pint water and stewing gently. I then add 1 lb sugar for every 1 pint of puree and boil and pot as I would any other jam. The end result is delicious, if I do say so myself!

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Photo Shoot by Catherine Evans :: 13th September 2016

 

Room with a view

Over the summer months I decided to update the photos on the website and also have a Google Images walk through created. This means that if you find Broome Park Farm B&B on Google Maps you can now come inside and look at all the rooms before you come and stay! Steve, the photographer also took some ‘Arty’ photos so I thought I would share them here!

Antique Dresser


Lots of games for all the familyA warm welcome at the doorLovely comments

The River Teme in Ludlow by Catherine Evans :: 17th March 2016

 

Dinham Weir

On a beautiful Spring day there is nothing better than wandering around Ludlow. Yesterday I took a stroll along the Bread Walk across Whitcliffe Common. I had forgotten what fabulous views there are over the town. The walk follows the banks of the River Teme, either at river level or climbing to the Common to take in the views. I can recommend parking in the town then walking down to Dinham, taking the path to the righthand side of the Castle. Take time to stop at The Green Cafe on the Millennium Green for either a coffee or cake or book a table for lunch.

Ludlow Castle from Whitcliffe

If the weather is good sit on the terrace and watch the wildlife on the Weir.

Now head over Dinham Bridge and take the lefthand path onto the Common, either climbing for the views or meander along the bank as far as Ludford Bridge. If you didn’t have lunch at the Green Cafe then stop at the Charlton Arms, I had a delicious fish finger sandwich with tartare sauce and skinny fries with a glass of Mortimer’s cider. Again, if the weather is warm sit on the terrace and sup a glass of local ale whilst watching the world go by!

Ludford BridgeA short stroll over Ludford Bridge, admiring the Horseshoe Weir on the right and you are at the bottom of Lower Broad Street. Head up the hill, through the Broad Gate and back to the bustle of Ludlow and a spot of retail therapy.

 

Lovely, lovely Reviews by Catherine Evans :: 08th February 2016

Guest Reviews

I am very fortunate to get wonderful feedback from all my guests! There is always a little frisson when I pick up the Guest book after guests have checked out to see if anything has been written! This week has been exceptional as all the guests that have stayed have completed an entry! Whilst reviews on online sites are good for promoting my business I still love the permeance of a physical record and will occasionally look back over past reviews and remember the guests that have stayed! Thank you to everyone that takes the time and trouble to write a record of their stay – I do appreciate it!

The Victorian Baker by Catherine Evans :: 17th January 2016

Brother of the Victorian Baker

How many of you have been watching the Victorian Bakers on BBC2? If so you will have seen John Swift persevere where many others would have given up whilst experiencing the conditions endured by his forebearers. We are lucky enough to have John and his brother Robert as our local bakers, based on the top of Clee Hill, surely the highest bakery in the Country. The photo is of Robert demonstrating his craft at his training kitchen in Ludlow. My favourite, of their many speciality breads, is marmite and cheese sour dough but there is a wide choice with something for everyone! To find out more visit their website.

End of Harvest by Catherine Evans :: 21st October 2015

Loading Beans

I can’t believe the summer is over! Fortunately the settled weather at the end of September and early October means we were able to finish the harvest without too many problems. The last crop to be harvested is beans and here John is loading a lorry to take them away. Beans are generally grown as an animal feed but we also sell some for export which go to Egypt for human consumption. The good weather also means most of the winter planting is done and we are getting ready to bring the cattle inside for the wet winter months. This shed, that was full of beans will soon be full of beasts!

Busy Bees! by Catherine Evans :: 11th June 2015

View from the Beehives

Beekeeping is a rollercoaster hobby! After a successful honey harvest last year the bees, in 2 hives were tucked up for the winter and we crossed our fingers! Unfortunately only 1 hive survived but this hive was doing well so we decided to split the hive into 2 to avoid the chance of the bees swarming. We are not sure how successful this was as neither hive seemd to be doing well so last weekend we added a swarm from another beekeepr to the weaker of the 2 hives.A swarm occurs when the number of bees in the hive exceeds the space available and roughly half of the bees fly off with a new queen to find a new home. Both hives now seem quite busy so hopefully they will all settle down, raise lots of brood and start producing some honey!

Grandmother's Footsteps by Catherine Evans :: 13th February 2015

 

Playing Grandmother's Footsteps

Most mornings I manage to take Mack for a stroll around the field in front of the house but at the moment we are playing a game of cat and mouse with the ewes currently grazing the field! Although Mack is pretty good and doesn’t usually bother about them the sheep persist in following us! At the start of the walk I carefully survey the field and decide our route based on the location of the flock, always trying to keep the biggest gap between us and them! But no, as soon as we enter the field along they trot, in some misguided belief I am going to feed them and we start our game of Grandmother’s Footsteps – I walk, they follow; I turn, they stop! Hopefully at this point Mack has spied a pheasant or squirrel in some distant corner of the field and has headed off in optimistic hope of catching it before it takes flight or disappears up a tree, much to his annoyance! So far, so good and no traumatised sheep to date! Hopefully they will head off to the lambing sheds soon and we will have the fields to ourselves once more……until they are replenished with ewes and playful lambs! That will present an almost impossible challenge!

Happy New Year 2015! by Catherine Evans :: 30th December 2014

Mack with Neen Savage Church

I can’t believe it will soon be 2015! The year seems to have flown by and since my last post we have had a lovely few days in Southern Spain, although I must report it was no warmer than sunny South Shropshire!

Mack certainly enjoyed his walks over the festive break and loved lording it over the rest of the world from the top of this big bale! We have had our first lambs at the main farm, so long nights in the lambing shed for John! We probably won’t have any lambs here at Broome Park until March when the bulk of the ewes are due to lamb.

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Flounders Folly by Catherine Evans :: 31st August 2014

 

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Today we visited Flounders’ Folly, an imposing stone tower, 16 foot square, standing 80 feet above Callow Hill, near Craven Arms, South Shropshire. The Folly is a landmark that is visible for miles around and in particular from the A49 between Church Stretton and Craven Arms. Built in 1838 by Benjamin Flounders (hence the name), it marks the point at which three parishes and four major estates meet. Curiously, Benjamin Flounders never had a house on the Culmington estate and generally chose to stay at the Angel Inn in Broad Street, Ludlow on his twice-yearly visits to Shropshire. The Folly fell into disrepair in the 20th century but was restored in 2004-5 by the Flounders’ Folly Trust. It is now open to the public one day each month so people can climb to the viewing platform at the top of the 78 stairs and enjoy the wonderful views of the Malverns, the Black Mountains, Cader Idris and much much more. Specially commissioned illustrations that run round the viewing platform enable visitors to work out exactly what landmarks they are looking at in the landscape.
It is quite a climb from the road but well worth the effort as the views from the top of the tower are spectacular! We were pleased to pick out Titterstone Clee, Brown Clee, the Wrekin and the Long Mynd. Please visit the website to check if the tower is open as it would be disappointing to arrive and find it closed! Generally it is open on the last Sunday of the month (if the flag of St George is flying it means the tower is open!).

A Slow Harvest by Catherine Evans :: 25th August 2014

 

Harvest Time at Broome Park Farm

This year our harvest seems very stop/start! When the weather was perfect at the first part of July nothing was ready to combine and now the crops are ready the weather is changeable. It is a constant dilemma – whether to harvest the crop when it is slightly damp then dry in the shed or wait for the optimum moisture level and miss the opportunity due to the weather. Ideally corn is harvested when the moisture content is around 14 – 16% and we use a meter to test a sample of the crop before starting to combine. If there is a weather window and we need to get on then we will combine anything up to 20% and then dry the crop in the shed or corn bins. Obviously this incurs additional cost so this is used as a last resort. The next problem has been breakages, fortunately nothing major with the combine so far this year but lots of trouble with the dryer and the auger which is used to move the corn from dryer to bin. This is an Archimedes screw inside a metal casing that winds the corn from one location to another.

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