Enterprising farmer’s wife Helen celebrates 35 years of flourishing craft business at ‘hidden gem’ in Upper Stowe

Helen Brodie started out from one of the redundant farm buildings in the yard adjacent to her home at the Old Dairy Farm, near Weedon.

She started to bake cakes and invited customers to sit in the shop, or outside if the weather was fine.

Everything in the shop was available to buy; chairs the visitors sat on, lampshades hanging from the ceiling, even the tea cosies on pots of tea.

The venture began to prove very popular with the villagers and soon attracted custom from further afield; in time Helen took on a helper and the business steamed ahead.

Awards for enterprise and employment were won and gradually other buildings in the yard were refurbished and more business owners moved into the individual units to make and sell their bespoke products.

A restaurant was established in the largest building in the yard and the old milking parlour in the top yard became a gallery.

All the while the farm continued to operate around the new centre and the animals became a big draw for younger members of the community, especially the Lambing Weekends later on, when the barns were opened to the public for a small charge.

Artist Nina Cashmore has a studio at the centre.

She said: “I opened my little gallery/studio at Old Dairy Farm in February 2020 and I love working here.

“There’s a laid back, relaxed atmosphere and you get to meet people who visit from a very wide radius. The location is perfect, with beautiful countryside on the doorstep and the wildflower meadow over in the churchyard.”

Dogs are welcome. Find out more about Old Dairy Farm Craft Centre at www.olddairyfarmcentre.co.uk, 01327 340525, [email protected]: @olddairyfarmcrafts or Facebook.

Pictures with thanks to Lola Hoyes of Lacie Cox Photography and Robert Wallis of Hayrack Gallery.

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