‘Capability’ tours at Woodhouse Farm

Staffordshire’s wonderful Woodhouse Farm where all the fabulous food comes from is offering a taste of ‘Capability’.

Woodhouse farm

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-1783): Annamarie Stone will be showing off the great man’s work.  His nickname came from his habit of telling clients their properties had the, ‘capability’, of improvement.  England’s ‘greatest gardener’ created 170 magnificent parks.

On September 8, 9 and 10, people can take a unique peek at what the 18th Century genius achieved at the 22-acre smallholding, just a mile outside Whittington.

The property used to be part of the Fisherwick Estate, once owned by the Marquess of Donegal.

It was he who hired the famous Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to transform the place into a rural idyll of fine parkland, lakes and woodlands.

Eventually the estate was sold and broken up into nine farms, of which Woodhouse is one.

Stone foundations

When Annamarie and Andy Stone took it on, in 2009, they turned it into a focal point for their community.

Now visitors from across the county flock there to take part in workshops, events and courses, as well as to buy their produce.

Many remnants of Brown’s brilliance can still be seen on and around farm, including lakes, a stone ‘ha ha’ stock wall, bridges and an orangery.

Newly discovered

Now Annamarie has also discovered the site of the water engine housing Lancelot put in to push water around Donegal’s beautiful lakes.

Woodhouse Farm

Lilly and Kimberly are huge favourites with youngsters visiting Woodhouse: these rare Irish moiled cows could not feel more at home on the farm. Their breed originated in and around County Donegal.  The ‘moiled’ in their name refers to the shape of their domed and hornless heads.  They compete for the ‘cute’ title with the farm’s latest batch of 13 busy piglets and quietly contented geese.

She has also found two brick-lined tunnels through which she believes water flowed to the Marquess’ mansion and orangery.

During her three-day September tour series (Thursday to Saturday) she will be taking people on a very special ‘Capability’ walk.

Around Woodhouse Farm

They will be able to see fishing lakes that are rarely on show, as well as previously unseen parkland.

“We’ll visit three of the great landscaper’s bridges and take a look at his ingenious ‘ha ha’,” she said. “These extraordinary barriers were an ‘invisible’ way to keep livestock out of your garden.”

Guests will also see the jewel in the Woodhouse crown, a magnificent walled garden.

It remains a marvel of horticultural engineering, despite its great age.

Superb produce

Conditions are created within the enclosure capable of growing a vast range of superb quality produce.

woodhouse farm

Waiting to welcome you: (left) Allan Hayes with Rhiannon, Annamarie and Andy Stone.

People will be able to join Annamarie’s walking tours from 10.30am to 4pm, on all three days.

Ample parking and refreshments will be available. Visitors can also stock up from the farm shop’s wide selection of produce.

Free entry

Entry to the guided tour event is free.

Click here fore more information about Woodhouse Farm and Garden.

Event details can be obtained by ringing 01543 432005, or emailing: thewalledgardenatwoodhousefarm@gmail.com

SatNav: WS13 8QG.

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