Mucklestone Local History and News


Mucklestone Spring Walk

Following last year’s successful Mucklestone Spring walk, two more were held this year on Sunday 3rd April, to view the wild daffodils , and a second on ‘Mayday’ to view the later flowering bird cherry, bluebells and garlic. I would like to thank Eric Pemberton, and all the members of the Turner Hodgkiss nature reserve who helped marshal the walks and got involved, and the ‘tea ladies’ of Mucklestone W.I. and the ‘Friends of St. Marys’ who laid on tea and cakes at the church. We were lucky with the weather on each day. Tables and chairs were put out by the church porch in the sunshine, and fun was had by all. Keep a look out for next years dates around the same times.

Comment : Mucklestone Spring Walk 2010.

Dear Mr. Friend,
We really enjoyed our walk yesterday. It was lovely to see the wild daffodils and the other woodland flowers. We noticed the hoards of bluebells that were coming through – Please would it be possilbe to have a Bluebell Walk? There were so many it would be like walking on (not literally) a carpet of blue, and the smell…!
Mrs. Jo Clouston.

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The following article appeared in the Newport and Market Drayton Advertiser

Kent Nurseryman, William Friend is ‘getting back to his roots’

Locally born, William, whose brothers James and Edward, and sister Sarah Sparrow all farm locally, has now also started a new enterprise in the area. Having spent 25 years running a family farm and garden centre in Margate, Kent. He has now started a new second plant nursery here in the Market Drayton area at Mucklestone Nurseries based at Church Farm, Mucklestone.

History is repeating itself as William’s father“Bobby“ Friend originally moved to the Market Drayton area from Kent in the 1950s as he considered this to be the best place in the the country for growing grass and producing milk.

William’s nursery in Kent, which he runs with his wife Louise, specialises in plants suited to the dry chalky soils and coastal climate of Kent.

“We’re now ‘branching out’, the same damp climate that attracted my father to the area a generation ago also means that Mucklestone is the ideal place to grow plants that need cool, moist conditions. “

Extensive work has been done to landscape the areas around the nurseries with trees, shrubs and orchard areas and restore the farmhouse gardens with traditional mixed borders.

This allows for a full range of the plants and trees to be grown that don’t do sowell in Kent:- moisture loving Perennials, Azaleas, Camellias, Rhododendrons, Birches , Maples, Rowans and Bamboos.

“I believe the secret to successful gardening is understanding the conditions a plant needs to grow in,“ William said. “At Mucklestone Nurseries, visitors have the chance to see how most of the plants for sale grow in local conditions.“ The nurseries are surrounded by woodland, ponds and meadows managed under the Environmental Stewardship Scheme which aims to protect and promote the wildlife and biodiversity of the farm as a whole.

Mucklestone residents have enjoyed a series of community walks organised by William and Louise to see wild daffodils, dormice and other unique wildlife found on their farm, and open days in the gardens, raising money for local charitable groups.

Stunning “Mucklestone Nurseries is in a stunning location and we want people to know that we’re here and what we have to offer.“ William said. “We’ve just had the coldest winter for years that has killed Eucalyptus, Cistus, Ceanothus, Lavanders and Rosemaries that have survived for years, which people are wanting to replace.

We’re gradually restocking ourselves and now have a new tunnel to overwinter them in, but anything from our Kent Nursery, not stocked here yet can be ordered and brought up for collection, given a little warning.

At home every one wants to grow plants like Rhododendrons and Azaleas, even though they have to grow them in pots!”
The nurseries are open daily throughout the summer and for more information, contact
the Nursery on 01630 674284 or visit
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News from Mucklestone Nurseries

Polytunnel 05 43 agr cMucklestone Nurseries has now completed its fifth full season. William Friend has wanted to start a nursery at Mucklestone since his childhood, following the example of family friend and mentor John Ravenscroft of nearby Bridgemere Nurseries. We have just taken the nursery back under direct control. The nursery is currently open every day , through the summer. The Nursery and Farm no. is 01630 674284. William divides his time between the two sites , for questions on plant availability ring on mob. 07714241668. For Winter opening please check before visiting. Christmas trees, holly and foliage are also available in the run up to Christmas.

Visitors to the nursery are welcome to walk around the environs of the nursery and buildings where we are gradually beginning to establish a sizeable collection of rare an unusual trees , shrubs and perennials. We have a pond/bog garden area of marginal herbaceous perennial plants, the gardens of the farmhouse and banks planted with bamboos , camellias, magnolias, acers and rhododendrons. This collection is complimentary to that at our nursery in Kent , being of plants that prefer the cooler more humid conditions of the north west midlands.

2009 bulg 002 c 2009 bulg 006
farmhouse garden c

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