Home grown is the best

As some of you may know, we like to grow our own fruit and veg her at Layhead, and June is usually a pretty busy for us. Each year we usually have a plentiful supply of soft fruit from our well established black currant bushes and raspberry canes. Most years the plum tree always seems go into overdrive providing us with a plentiful supply of sweet plums for our popular homemade plum jam. Even the old walnut tree gets in on the act later in the year so we have home grown walnuts for Christmas.

If you’ve never grown your own fruit and veg, we’d encourage you to have a go. There is nothing nicer than having fresh homegrown salad as part of a summer meal. You don’t need a large garden to grow your own. Lots of modern varieties of vegetables can be grown in pots. Salad leaves are a classic example. Here are some other vegetables and herbs you can grow in containers: chives, lettuce, radishes, basil, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, peas, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach.

Herbs are also perfect for growing in containers. Here are some examples of herbs to grow – parsley, rosemary, coriander, mint, thyme.

If you fancy having a go at growing vegetables, here’s our easy guide to growing your own peas.

First of all, before planting peas, check on the seed packet what type of peas you are buying. There are shelling peas and edible pea pods so make sure you buy the ones you like to eat.

Here are some basic tips for getting started.

Pea plants like full sun so ensure that your vegetable plot and containers are situated where they can enjoy the sun’s rays.

Peas grow upwards and need support for their tendrils. Whether planted in the ground or in containers, they will need support. You can either use bamboo canes or long sticks. Push the supports firmly into the soil next to where you are going to plant your seeds BEFORE planting so you don’t disturb the seeds.

When peas start to flower, water thoroughly once a week to encourage pod growth (more if the weather is very sunny). To reduce water loss, place a well-rotted mulch around the base of the pea plants.

Peas are nitrogen rich plants so you don’t need to give them extra feed, especially if they are planted in a good compost or have a well-rotted mulch as a top cover.

The pods usually start growing from the bottom of the plant, so harvest these first. Pick regularly to encourage more pod growth.

Where to plant your peas

Sowing Peas Directly in the Ground – Peas like a weed free moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Dig over a patch of ground and dig in some well-rotted compost a few weeks before planting. Birds love to steal pea seeds so cover the seeds with chicken wire or netting until they have geminated.

Sowing Peas in Containers – Plant peas in a container using good quality compost.

Sowing Peas in Patio sacks – Similar to containers, peas can be grown in patio sacks. Fill with good quality compost as you would when using a container.

At the end of the season, cut off the leaves and stems and add to the compost heap. If you have grown your peas in a vegetable plot, dig the roots into the ground to release nitrogen into the soil.

For more information about growing your own vegetables, here’s a great website for urban growers

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Welcome Back! #5 Fantastic Places to Visit in Yorkshire

Yorkshire has a diverse range of places to visit. Here are #5 fantastic attractions you shouldn’t miss.

1. The National Science & Media Museum in Bradford – re-opening Wednesday 19 May 2021
There is lots to see and do for all family members here. With interactive galleries and cinema showings, including the region’s biggest IMAX theatre, there is no reason for anyone not to enjoy themselves.
Find out more HERE

2. St Ives Estate, Bingley
There are over 550 acres of stunning Yorkshire country park to explore at St. Ives Estate in Bingley. From woodlands to the open moor, the wildflower meadow and the winding paths that take you through it all – you’ll find plenty of things to keep you entertained for free. If you’re bringing the little ones, there’s an adventure playground and the Coppice Pond will offer you the chance to feed the duck.
St Ives Estate, Harden, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 1BW.
Find out more HERE

3.The National Railway Museum in YorkRe-opening Wednesday 19 May 2021
This one is for rail enthusiasts young and old. See the transformation of railway stock through the ages, including Stephenson’s Rocket.
Find out more HERE

4.Malham Cove
One of the most stunning natural attractions in the whole of Yorkshire, Malham Cove is an absolute must-visit. Formed by a waterfall at the end of the last Ice Age around 12,000 years ago, it has a unique limestone pavement on top, while the huge face is regularly used by climbers. For the first time in centuries it briefly became the biggest single drop waterfall in the UK in 2015, but visit on a sunny day and you’ll see it at its age-old best.
Malham Cove, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 4DA.
Find out more HERE

5.The Piece Hall Halifax
Dating back to 1779, when it was built as a Cloth Hall for the trading of ‘pieces’ of cloth, the Piece Hall has had a chequered history. Now a stunning transformation makes it a ‘must see’ if you are in the Halifax area.
Find out more HERE

Don’t forget to check for any Covid restrictions before you leave home to explore these sites

Have fun!

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National Roast Leg of Lamb Day 7th May 2021

Whether it is a national day from across the pond or not, Roast Leg of Lamb Day is celebrated on 7th May each year – and we love it!

Support local producers by looking out for farms near you that sell halves of lamb. You’ll probably find that you get more for you money AND it’s much better quality than buying from large supermarkets.

If you’ve never roasted a leg of lamb at home, it’s remarkably simple to do.

Simply place in a roasting pan, rub down with olive oil, give it a solid dusting of salt and pepper and apply a healthy measure of rosemary and garlic. Cover with aluminium foil and roast for around one hour (depending on weight) at 160ºC/325F.

There are plenty of recipes and videos on the web if you want a complete ‘how-to’ tutorial.



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Snuggle down with a good book

Books are magnificent things. You can travel the world, travel to new worlds, find out things you never knew, learn how to do things you’ve never done, all from the comfort of your own front room. Sadly, it appears that more and more of us are choosing technology over the written word, but books can help stimulate imagination in a way that watching a video never can.

If you haven’t read anything for a while, schedule 7 – 8 pm in your diary on Friday 23 April, grab yourself a book and have a good read for an hour.


Because 23 April is World Book Night.

It was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland on 5 March 2011. In 2012 it was moved to 23 April, the UNESCO International Day of the Book. World Book Night came out of a discussion at the Book Industry Conference in May 2010, the purpose of which was, quite simply, to imagine a way to encourage more adults to read.

If you fancy taking part, you could make it a family affair. If you have little ones, let them choose the story then create costumes for everyone to wear based around the theme of the book.

If you don’t want to go that far, settle down on the settee with cups of hot chocolate for everyone and nominate a family member to read a story, or you could all take turns. Remember this should be fun though.

Or, if you want to go it alone, find a quiet corner and spend an hour on your own with a good book.


You can find out more about World Book Night HERE

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Billy the Hen and Rocket the Cow

We love our pets here at Layhead. Many of you may remember Billy the hen who insisted on NOT living in the hen house with the other ‘girls’. After many anxious nights searching for her in the bushes (and believe us, it’s not easy looking for a chicken in the dark), in the end we gave up trying to make her roost with the others. We created her own nesting box at the door of the boot room next to Stables. Honestly, the lengths we will go to make our furry or feathered friends happy!

If you’ve visited Layhead you may have seen the stain glass window in one of the cottages with the head of a cow on it. That’s ‘Rocket’. She was one of our cows who had a mind of her own. She would wander to the milking parlour in her own time, hence the name Rocket. She would never be rushed.

We know many of our guests have their own pets. Usually, dogs come to stay with their families at Layhead, but we’ve had rabbits and guinea pigs on the odd occasion too!

Here in the UK, from 1 April – 10 May, it’s National Pet Month. In the words of the organisers,

“As an educational campaign, National Pet Month is unique in bringing together animal welfare charities, professional bodies, pet businesses, schools, youth groups, and pet lovers.”.

If you want to find out more, check out the link below. Definitely worth a look if you’re an avid pet lover.

National Pet Month

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