Things have been busy at Forge Farm, our newest production site.
It’s been all hands on deck at our new production site, Forge Farm, and the team in Shropshire have been busily preparing for the summer months that lie ahead.
Wildflower Turf Ltd took occupancy of Forge Farm in October 2021, with the daunting challenge of reinventing the former dairy farm and transforming it into a new home for our Wildflower Turf® and Meadowscape Pro™ products.
We spent the tail end of last year altering the Yard area and rehoming a good deal of cattle manure! The cattle rails in the sheds were all cut down and we moved and installed concrete panels to make bays for our various different soil ingredients. We also set up a workshop filled with new equipment. December really did feel like Christmas with deliveries of workshop items arriving each day.
The start of the New Year saw ongoing maintenance around the Yard, with the installation of new water pipes and the cleaning and repairing of gutters. We were also ready to take receipt of additional new materials and so further areas in the Yard needed to be cleared and cleaned. By February the Yard was really starting to take shape!
The last few months have seen us spend less time devoted to this area, but with many plans in place to ensure that the Forge Farm Yard area reaches the very high standards we aspire to. Many of the additional improvements planned will be made during the winter months as turf bed preparation and maintenance has now reached a frenzied pace in between spring showers.
We have also cleared and made space for the various materials needed to produce Meadowscape Pro™, and we were thrilled to commence production of our new Peat-Free Meadowscape Pro™ at Forge Farm on the 23rd of March.
Turning our attention to the fields, the first phase was to design the field layout. We then marked out our new turf bed areas and installed the necessary underground irrigation pipework and electrical cabling.
After a short break for the festive season, and with the main irrigation now installed, we then concentrated on prepping the beds on dry days. The team has also installed ridges that run along the beds to help to catch and drain rainwater.
We also installed the irrigation surface pipes which took some time as a result of the length of the pipes and the distance they were required to cover. The beds were then levelled off and cleared of the previous crops and weeds attended to.
Following a practice run in one of our many sheds during the inclement weather (see our efforts below) we began laying turf in the first week of April after some rain delays and we’re very much looking forward to the day when our first wildflower turf shipment rolls out from Forge Farm.
May has seen us continue to prep and lay beds, attend to weed control and our Meadowscape Pro™ production has continued apace.
Our efforts will yield us a further 180 beds equating to around 60,000 m2 of turf area for 2022. And this is only Phase 1 of our expansion plans!
Due to the size of Forge Farm, we have areas not currently taken up with turf production. As a result, we now also have a contract farming arrangement in place. We’ve also commissioned an environmental baseline study to help us understand what we have available to us at Forge Farm and how we can improve it. We are also busy setting up a number of AGRI environmental schemes.
Having made huge inroads during the months to date, we are also looking to expand our Forge Farm production team. If you have a passion for biodiversity and have the aptitude and skills to grow a high-quality turf product, then we’d love to hear from you!
Like to learn more? You can review our recruitment video HERE.
Away from the Yard and the fields, we’ve also made a number of changes to the two properties that sit on Forge Farm. As well as completely revamping the ageing Farmhouse (which required structural work as well as a new interior), we have also turned our attention to a second property on Forge Farm, Oakley Lodge.
Oakley Lodge is a beautiful, recently built home that has been transformed into a holiday let and is now available to rent via Airbnb. The property has received a full facelift and we’ve had some sterling reviews already!
“Wow, what a fantastic place! A true 5* Airbnb and a beautiful rural escape from the hustle and bustle. The house is very well equipped with every mod con, the beds comfortable and has lots of space for friends and family to get together. Melissa was so welcoming and always available to help and answer questions. She also provides hotel quality touches – toiletries, flannels, great quality towels and a lovely welcome pack of fresh bread, milk, biscuits, jam etc. as well as things for dogs. We were very sorry to be leaving and hope to return again soon!”
“A immaculately presented property, very spacious with every mod con. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone considering this property. It provided a perfect base for us during our visit to the area. The Hosts are welcoming and very quick to respond to any request or enquiry regarding the house and stay. A true 5 * experience.”
Fancy a trip to visit us? You can view the property and check out availability HERE.
It’s been a very busy but rewarding time at Forge Farm, and we look forward to providing you with further updates as we continue to transform our new production site.
Do please give us a shout if you have an interest in joining our Forge Farm team (or know anyone who may be suitable) and we look forward to continuing to welcome guests to Oakley Lodge. What better place to enjoy a few days of R&R?