The Christmas trees are legendary – Elton John famously had one airlifted to his yacht one Christmas.
We’ve missed a lot these past 18 odd months (emphasis on the odd). Holidays, weddings, dinner dates and shopping trips; these external things that would usually occupy us were unceremoniously yanked away at the turn of the decade. In their place, anxieties about our futures, a collective feeling of being trapped and a whole lot of scrolling took hold and a not-always-welcome shift of focus inward inevitably followed. The pandemic has been a colossal pain but also an unprecedented global time out – an opportunity to take stock.
What’s important to us? Are we happy without distraction? Do these distractions make us happy or are we just sedate? What’s the bloody point in it all? Well, in times of such existential dramatics, we invite you to take a short trip down the M25 to Crockford Bridge Farm.
A sharp turn off the motorway and you suddenly find yourself in the domain of a fifth generation family of farmers. Sprawling across 80 acres of primo West Sussex green belt land, this pick your own paradise is one of the oldest continually worked farms in Surrey and is even name dropped in the Domesday Book.
Paul Smith and his ilk have been working the fields their entire lives (only pausing to manage a couple of chart-topping punk bands in the 80s, but that’s a story for another article). Paul specialises in traditionally grown outdoor crops and he pours several ages’ worth of experience into each seed.
We’ve just missed their Michelin grade asparagus but the nation-famous strawberries, gooseberries and rhubarb are ripe for the pickin’. The Avant-Garden also opens this week. Nestled between ‘The Reaping Realm’ and ‘The Picking Pasture’ is a pop-up rum bar that promises 90 minutes of bottomless cocktails and beer for each reveller.
Naturally, the goings on at Crockford Bridge are very much seasonal but there’s fun to be had all year round:
Come autumn, an array of multi-coloured pumpkins, squashes and sunflowers come to fruition – marking the beginning of Halloween season and the Crockford Bridge Pumpkin Festival. Expect instragrammable pumpkin displays, immersive theatre and plenty of spooky activities for the children.
When December rolls around, the winter wonderland comes to life to welcome Father Christmas himself. The Christmas trees are legendary – Elton John famously had one airlifted to his yacht one Christmas.
Besides all this seasonal mayhem, you’ll find an ice cream parlour stocked with 24 fabulous flavours alongside a tea shack bursting with cakes and quiches.
The real draw, though, is the farming itself. You see, this ancient way of doing things doesn’t allow for much wallowing. There is something so very therapeutic about breathing the bucolic air and only having worry about how many strawberries you can fit in a punnet. So although we have missed things these past couple of years, we’ve been gifted an opportunity to rediscover something lost: a return to our roots, the time to sew something new; and, thanks to places like Crockford Bridge Farm, a chance to harvest something truly nourishing.
Crockford Bridge Farm
New Haw Rd, Weybridge, Addlestone KT15 2BU