Farmhouse Breakfast Week - 22 - 28 January 2006
Country Park Guest House
Supporting local suppliers never tasted so good. As
the country gets ready to celebrate Farmhouse Breakfast Week,
one Defra funded guesthouse near Bolton is already renowned for
serving the best food the region has to offer.
Farmhouse Breakfast Week, organised by the Home Grown Cereals
Association (HGCA), is a campaign that aims to highlight the
importance of breakfast and make people aware of the range and
quality of available regional produce.
Jumbles Country Park Guest House in Bromley Cross is a shining
example of how local foodstuffs can be used to make some of the
best breakfasts around.
The guest house was set up four years ago by Lesley and Colin
Sobey, who wanted to make their beautiful large farmhouse into
a viable business and sought the aid of a Defra Rural Enterprise
Scheme (RES) grant.
The Sobeys bought Grange Farm after falling in love with the
spectacular view over the Jumbles reservoir and country park.
The couple were looking for a career change, having previously
worked as schools inspectors. With seven children and a constant
stream of visitors, they were used to entertaining large numbers
of people, and they decided to fund the upkeep of their new home
by opening a guesthouse.
A RES grant was awarded by the Rural Development Service to
cover almost half of the conversion costs, transforming rooms
into ensuite bedrooms, and repairing the roof, facias and gutters.
Determined to make the project work, the Sobeys were keen to
make the most of the surrounding grounds. They took up equine
and land management studies, re-opened the livery stables on
the premises and began managing the surrounding land for the
benefit of wildlife and the environment.
Despite having no formal catering or farming experience, they
have made Jumbles Country Park Guest House a great success, with
a clutch of accolades including the AA 5 diamond accreditation
and two prestigious awards from the North West Tourist Board.
Holidaymakers come from as far away as America, Hong Kong and
Singapore, and the guesthouse is very popular with business people
because of its proximity to Manchester city centre and the motorway
However, the main attraction is Lesley's catering: the genuine
Lancashire Farmhouse Breakfasts served at Jumbles would rival
many a top chef's offerings.
Lesley bakes all her own breads, and makes an excellent range
of home made jams and conserves with the rhubarb, redcurrants
and blackberries grown on the farm or from fruit bought from
local suppliers. Friends have even tried to persuade her to market
her jams but at the moment they are only available to hotel guests.
The Jumbles hearty cooked breakfasts include free range eggs
and local, mostly organic meat from nearby butchers. Lesley even
makes her own yoghurt on the Aga, and serves it with delicious
fruit salads in winter and summer.
"I enjoy cooking and am a great believer in serving fresh,
locally sourced produce. Lancashire has a wonderful range of
food suppliers and I get great satisfaction from using the best
products the region can offer to make top quality breakfasts
for our guests.
"I am also very environmentally conscious and buying local
produce is a great way of cutting down on food miles and reducing
waste from excess packaging.
"We wanted to make Jumbles into the type of place we would
like to stay in ourselves but at an affordable price, and we
have a huge number of regular customers so we must be doing something
Christine Cummins, an adviser with the Rural Development Service
in the North West, said,
"We are proud to be able to support local businesses in
the North West, and have funded 19 Farmhouse B&B enterprises
through RES, as well as numerous local food initiatives from
bakeries and butchers to ice-cream farms. It is particularly
rewarding when projects such as this one are not only extremely
successful in themselves, but also actively seek to support other
regional businesses by sourcing their food from the many excellent
"We are sure Lesley's lucky guests will continue to enjoy
fantastic Lancashire food, not just during Farmhouse Breakfast
week but all the year round."
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