Beautiful farm shop has been in same family for 100 years and is barely an hour from Lancashire

Andrew Pimbley from Claremont Farm
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)


For more than a century, its stood there just off the M53. And in all that time, it's been run by the same family.

Claremont Farm in Bebington, Wirral, is loved by locals and visitors alike for its popular farm shop and cafe that serves produce grown on the farm itself, and from the surrounding area. Whieldons also run a butchers' counter inside the farm shop, stocked with local meats and a selection of homemade pies and sausage rolls.

The much-loved spot is set to hold a whole host of events this summer, from acoustic nights to outdoor theatre and classic car shows, as well as the return of its popular pick your own strawberries.

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Brothers Andrew and Guy Pimbley are the fourth generation of their family to run the tenanted farm, with the help of their parents Ian and Pauline, who are in their 80s. The Pimbley family first took on the farm in 1906 - and it's changed a lot over the last 118 years.

Back when his grandparents ran the farm, Andrew, 47, told the ECHO: "It was a real mixed farm. We would grow the crops to feed the animals."

"We had chickens, cows, and pigs. Eventually we started getting rid of the animals."

Claremont Farm in Bebington is loved by locals and visitors alike
Claremont Farm in Bebington is loved by locals and visitors alike -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

"My grandpa went to America in the 1950s - a lot of the future trends for farming come from America - and he saw farmers' markets, farm shops and pick your own. That's when we started our farm shop which was potatoes, eggs and vegetables."

"We started that here and then we started the pick your own. Families have been coming to the pick your own for 40 odd years, and once they've been to pick your own strawberry picking, they want to bring their own kids to pick your own - and that's an incredible thing to be a part of really."

'We knew we needed to become a destination - it's very much a family affair'

The farm shop has had to diversify its offering over the years to incorporate different produce, from cheese to chutneys and charcuterie. Homegrown potatoes, asparagus, cabbages, cauliflower and sprouts are just some of the vegetables sold in the shop on a seasonal basis.

Brothers Andrew and Guy Pimbley are the fourth generation of their family to run the tenanted farm
Brothers Andrew and Guy Pimbley are the fourth generation of their family to run the tenanted farm -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

After years spent working in Zimbabwe and Venezuela, Andrew was inspired to become his own boss and take things on Claremont Farm to the next level.

Andrew said: "We spent 10 years doing the Wirral Food and Drink Festival. We take it for granted that there's all these local producers on offer in farm shops and restaurants dealing with local produce, but it wasn't like that in the early 2000s, it was only really just taking off."

"So to have the Wirral Food and Drink Festival, we got 40,000 people over the two days to come and meet face to face all these artisan producers, it was something really unique. We had music and it was a proper party. It was great for the community."

'We knew we needed to become a destination - it's very much a family affair'
'We knew we needed to become a destination - it's very much a family affair' -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

After ten years of running the Wirral Food and Drink Festival, the Pimbley family had outgrown its small farm shop. Inspired by The Everyman Bistro in Liverpool, which blazed a trail in the hospitality industry before it closed in 2011, Claremont Farm decided to build a new farm shop and cafe.

The former assistant head chef from The Everyman Bistro helped to develop a menu for Claremont Farm's cafe, where he still works to this day. The cafe serves a breakfast, brunch and lunch menu which includes the likes of seasonal salads, pick your own cooked breakfast, homemade sandwiches and cakes.

Andrew said: "We knew we needed to become a destination. I was passionate about creating a place where people could come and buy food, cook it themselves or we could actually prepare it for them."

"We just want to be part of the community as much as possible. It's grown very much organically."

"My dad is still the main tractor driver on the farm. Myself and my brother both have different parts to play in the farm system. It's very much a family affair."

Against the odds, Claremont Farm is set to mark the 10th anniversary of its expanded farm shop and cafe
Against the odds, Claremont Farm is set to mark the 10th anniversary of its expanded farm shop and cafe -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

Challenges facing local farms after years of uncertainty

The challenges facing local farms like Claremont since Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and the cost of living crisis are impossible to ignore. Andrew said: "It's recently been very tricky just staying afloat really. With the cost of living crisis, the energy crisis - our electric bill went from £30,000 to £90,000."

"Business rates have skyrocketed. Everything has just been stacked against us. The weather doesn't help the farming and the outdoor events."

Despite the odds being stacked against them in recent years, Claremont Farm is set to mark the 10th anniversary of its expanded farm shop and cafe in June. Andrew said: "It's difficult because it feels like we're really on a knife edge at the moment to be content with what we've done but a lot of businesses are like that."

"A lot of businesses think that they're bad business people or they have an unsuccessful business but it's not, it's all these other factors that have led to them struggling, and that's what we've got to realise - that this is an incredible achievement to have lasted ten years and to have created a community here."

"We should take a moment to be proud of ourselves. There's not many places that offer the farm shop, the cafe, the event space. It's trying to offer something all year round for people of different ages."