I’ve been going fruit-picking at Kenyon Hall Farm for many years. The people there are wonderful. One year, I very stupidly decided to go on a boiling hot day, straight after blood donation, left my bottle of water in the car, and started feeling faint whilst waiting in the long queue to pay. The lovely owner sat me down, got me a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits, and waited with me until I felt better.
I used to go fruit-picking every year, as a child. There was a fruit farm not far from where my maternal grandparents lived, and we used to go there with them. But, over the years, a lot of “pick your own” fruit farms have closed … so I was delighted when I came across Kenyon Hall. When I first started going there, they just had the fields and a polytunnel. I’ve seen them build a café and a farm shop, put in extra polytunnels as a plant centre, and even put in a kids’ playground. It’s quite a North West institution now: people from Manchester to Liverpool go every year to pick berries in the summer and pumpkins in the autumn. Running a fruit farm at the mercy of the Great British Weather isn’t always easy, and, even just over the last few years, we’ve had gales, heavy snow in March, floods, heatwaves and droughts, but they always manage to produce fruit for us to pick even so!
Normally, I just turn up at 9 o’clock on a Saturday or Sunday morning, and off to the strawberry fields or raspberry canes I go. It’s amazing. You’re very close to both the East Lancs Road and the M6 there, but it feels like being right out in the country: it always makes me feel as if I’ve been transported into an Enid Blyton summer holiday book.