Harness Nature with a Farm Stay UK Harvest Break08/08/2016
- Celebratory food and harvest breaks on rural working farms
across the UK this autumn-
across the UK this autumn-
Those looking for an autumnal escape where nature’s bounty takes the main stage look no further than Farm Stay UK which has launched a new collection of Harvest Breaks; cosy cottages and countryside B&Bs on working farms offering up opportunities where a food and nature-based celebrations are top of the menu this autumn. From hop heritage tours in Kent to food festivals in Warwickshire and cider celebrations in Devon, there are harvest breaks on offer to suit all palates.
Traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon (the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox), harvest celebrations are to give thanks for the year’s crop… and it’s not just the food grown on the land with a host of UK festivals also giving thanks for the fishing seasons. This year the equinox will take place on September 22nd so get ready to officialy say goodbye to summer and welcome in autumn once again.
Hop Picking Heritage and Oast Tours – Brenley Farm House B&B, Faversham, Kent
Visit the Garden of England this autumn for a tranquil farm escape at Brenley Farm, an elegant Georgian family farmhouse B&B surrounded by hop gardens, orchards and paddocks and likely the only hop farm in the country still using traditional hop pickers from the East End of London. After an award-winning breakfast join Maggie Berry on a conducted tour of the hop picking and oast (hop picking begins at the end of August for 3 weeks), or in September the apples and pear harvest begins, concluding with the grape harvest at the beginning of October. Family matriarch Joyce Dutton will also be on hand to give an afternoon talk to any interested guests and of course share some fruit which can be quickly whipped up into delicious pies at home.
2 nights in September/October are available from £185 based on 2 sharing on a B&B basis.
Apple Pressing and Orchard Bees - The Green Farm, Crowle Green, Worcestershire
The Green Farm is a peaceful oak-beamed farmhouse Grade II listed building, set in a large garden and surrounded by 27 acres of farmland. Each room in this superb bed and breakfast has its own sitting room and entrance and breakfast includes homemade jams, fruit from the orchard, Worcestershire apple/pear juice and honey from their bees. The Green Farm B&B is holding an Apple Pressing Day on Saturday 24th September from 11am until 3pm and everyone is invited to bring their own apples/pears to press as well as containers to put the juice in. It is all free and it coincides with very popular RHS Malvern autumn Show. This is a great spot for autumnal food as there’s a great dining pub within walking distance and with 3 rescue donkeys, Chester the horse, free range chickens, a small flock of Shetland sheep and some hives of honey bees in the orchard, as well as all the wildlife, there is always something to see at the farm itself.
2 nights in September/October are available from £160 based on 2 sharing a double room on a B&B basis.
Forage, Cook and Feast - Downs Barn Farm Cottages, Nr Penzance, Cornwall
Head to Penzance this autumn, where two luxury barn conversions provide the perfect base for a peaceful seaside escape with plenty of foraging opportunities on the doorstep. The cottages both boast bright rooms with high, beamed ceilings, modern kitchens and sea views. Jump in the car and head just five minutes down the road to the famous Fat Hen Foraging School (named by Countryfile as one of the top ten best foraging courses in the UK) for forage, feast and cook days taking place in October and November. Chief forager Caroline Davey will provide a host of top tips and teach guests the amazing potential of wild ingredients. Forage along the seashore, amongst the hedgerows and in the woodland for edible flowers, herbs, seaweeds and seeds, before indulging in a feast of handpicked treats.
3 nights in November are available from £270 based on 2 sharing either Bridie’s Barn or Skylarks on a self-catering basis. Fat Hen forage and feast days are available from £95pp.
Celebrate Apples and Cider – Hele Payne Farm, Nr Exeter, Devon
15 minutes from Exeter, in deep Devonshire countryside sits a honeysuckle-clad cottage on the working farm of Hele Payne. Once settled in, head down the road to the National Trust property of Killerton House to enjoy the historic house and beautiful grounds plus the estate’s own cider, enjoy the annual Apple and Cider Festival on 15th & 16th October. Celebrating all things apple with craft stalls, live music and an orchard trail to witness a 200 year old farm press plus lots of apple related activities for kids. You can even pick and bring a small bag of garden apples (Sally from Hele Payne Farm will be happy to share from the farm’s crop) to press into a bottle of juice to take home!
7 night break from 15th October to coincide with Killerton Cider and Apple Festival is available from £400 based on up to 6 sharing Honeysuckle Cottage on a self-catering basis.
Pumpkin Harvest and Jam Making – Wimbles Farm, Heathfield, East Sussex
Surrounded by 20 aces of wildflower meadows, the lakeside oasthouse at Wimbles Farm offers delicious breakfasts, stunning lakeside views and charming hosts. Or if glamping is your thing, the unique Shepherd’s Hut is ideal for a romantic getaway for couples looking to escape to the countryside – complete with kitchenette, woodstove, hot shower, eco-toilet and a welcome pack of local breakfast delights. To celebrate the harvest, guests can pick their own farm grown pumpkin to carve and then help to prepare into a sweet pie or soup to cook and eat. At dusk light a tea light and see the scary design glow in the dark! The next day, forage the farms field hedgerows for blackberries, sloes, hips n haws and add to the farm picked apples to extract the juice, then learn and help to turn it into a delicious jelly and fill jars to taste and takeaway. Delicious on scones, toast or accompaniment to cheese or meat.
3 nights in September available from £255, based on 2 sharing a double room on a B&B basis or stay in the Shepherd’s Hut for £270 for a 3 night stay, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. An extra £25pp for these harvest activities (2 night stay minimum).
Spoon Carving, Juicy Jams, Coastal Foraging and Wild Cocktails – Hastings Farm Cottages, Dorset
Hastings Farm Cottages in Dorchester offer beautifully converted farm barns with all the amenities, a play area, games barn and all in a child-friendly environment. The award winning Dorset Holiday cottages are well placed to visit Fore Adventure in Studland. Just over half-an-hours drive from the cottages, this outdoor adventure company has a whole menu of harvest inspired activities to get stuck in with – Wild Cocktail making; Fish Forage and Feast, a half day adventure conquering the sea, shore and stomach in one; a sit down feast of locally foraged goodies...plus juicy jam making, a spoon carving workshop and a guide to wild edible syrups and sauces throughout September and October.
Fore Adventure activities from £50 - £150pp - www.foreadventure.co.uk. 3 nights at Hastings Farm Cottages in September available from £301, based on 2 sharing the Myrtle cottage on a self-catering basis and a special offer from September to November; couples travelling with an infant can enjoy the extra space of the 2 bedroom Buttercup or Poppy Cottage at a lower price.
Hedgerow Harvest & Food Festival – Knightcote Farm Cottages, Warwick Stratford, Warwickshire
Amongst 600 acres of Warwickshire farmland in the historic and peaceful village of Knightcote sits Knightcote Farm and its five luxury cottages - lovingly restored and adapted from 17th Century barns, an old milking parlour and a grain store. The family of the farm can point you to the best blackberry picking spots and furnish you with apples, or for just a few pounds make you one of Granny’s apple and blackberry pies or crumbles to warm up in your cottage. Over the weekend of 10th/11th September don’t miss the nearby Leamington Spa Food Festival (www.leamingtonfoodfestival.co.uk) with local craft breweries, music, stalls and a kids’ cookery school. Back at the farm expect to be amazed by the impressive vintage tractor collection, orchard carp lake, and a model railway exhibition as well as farm trails where you can spot badgers, deer, butterflies and birds.
3 nights in September are available from £650 based on up to 6 sharing Home cottage on a self-catering basis.
Growing Colour Workshop – Carr House Farm, York
For those fed up with food and after something different, Carr House Farm in York offers a fantastic ‘Growing Colour’ workshop where after a stint of gathering, you can learn the art of dyeing with plants and put these new found skills to the test. Guests will come-away with a selection of plant dyed natural fibres to use in own projects and a wonderful linen wrap. Plus at the farm’s apiary, help with the abstraction and learn about bees and honey production and hands on general maintenance of the hives. Voted one of the top 10 UK farm stays by Countryfile, Carr House Farm is an idyllically set 16th century farm house in North Yorkshire. With romantic four-poster en-suite bedrooms, an award winning breakfast, wooden beams and buckets of tranquil countryside, it’s not hard to see why.
2 nights in September/October are available from £200 based on 2 people sharing a double or twin en-suite room on a B&B basis. Plant dying day course is £110pp, 4 people minimum for 6 hours and includes refreshments throughout the day and also lunch when guests stay a minimum of a 2 night stay.
... Finally, for those looking for a fishing harvest activity, September and October is a great time to Salmon fish in Scotland. Head to Culligran Cottages in Glen Strathfarrar, for self-catering accommodation in an unspoilt Highland glen in Inverness-shire and abundant salmon and trout fishing. A week stay in September from £399 based on 4 people sharing the Aspen Chalet – short breaks possible depending on bookings.
To book contact the properties direct, please visit www.farmstay.co.uk. The full foraging collection can be viewed here: www.farmstay.co.uk/Accommodation/HolidayIdeas/Foraging