It is just over 60 years since Edwards Cows have paid the rent at Little Hall Farm, on the outskirts of Bettisfield. Our farm straddles both England and Wales, with the ‘Welcome to Shropshire’, signpost 300 metres away from the farm.

Our story

To begin our story, throughout the 1960’s and 70’s our herd was traditionally British Friesian. Convincing my father to change direction to Holstein, wasn’t easy, as traditions were deep rooted. I was the keen middle son, having come through Walford Agricultural College, Shropshire.

I have spent all my working career working with cows and managing the land.

I was lucky to find a wife, who also loved cows. Lin’s standout childhood memory, is, forever taking her kitchen chair, outside on the farmyard, and watching their cows.

Over all these years, as farmers needed to milk more and more cows to stay in business, we rented Corner Farm, Welshampton, for our youngstock to graze the land in the summers and live in the Dutch Barn, throughout the winters.

We purchased Corner Farm, Welshampton, in September 2014, with a sole purpose of sharing and caring the Great British Countryside with everyone. It took a three-year battle and here we are, ready. Corner Farm is a quirky little farm, that sits on its own layby, with a ‘Welcome to Shropshire’, signpost, on the very field that has the new Campsite Drive running through it.

To Belong

The sale of our wonderful Willenhall Herd was planned for April 16th 2020. We always knew this time would arrive, where we would have to say goodbye.

To part with everything you have bred, treasured and loved, is one of the hardest moments of a dairy farmers life. Both of us, in total awe, of the amazing herd Willenhall has become.

Our name Willenhall came from our two homes. Willington and Little Hall. ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way’, our trading logo. Those few words, pretty much sums us up. We have a strong Will, to always do the very best in everything we do.

Our cattle are intelligent, talented, calm and kind. This is where our Campsite takes its very special name from.

It has been our greatest pleasure to BELONG to a group of totally amazing people, who contribute so much to feeding our nation. Our total admiration goes to older farmers who have managed to keep our businesses going, no matter what we have faced, over the last few decades. To the younger generation, who embrace all the wonderful technology available in our modern world. We salute you all.

Blessings

In the autumn of 2021, our new entrance for the Caravan and Camping Park was created. On either side of the entrance, I was planting Wall Flowers ready for our opening, which we had thought would be Easter 2022. A car pulled up and a gentleman asked me, when the footpath running across our main field, would reopen. This footpath has not been used a great deal in the past.

From that chance meeting, Mr.Anthony Eccleston has walked and marked up all the footpath routes from Willenhall Way. This is a job, that I could never have done. He and his wife are keen walkers and have so kindly put all the routes together for our tourists to enjoy. In 2017, when we were in the fight of our lives, for Willenhall, our caring and sharing project, my consultant asked me to walk the first route, in preparation for our next hurdle.

From the kissing gate in the corner, the beauty and smells of the magnificent countryside was there to savor. I only walked a short circular walk, back to base. 30 minutes in total. This walk, I knew then, was a wonderful walk, for holiday makers with or without pets. This is a walk we would have loved the use of when we were seasonal caravanners. Perfect, when you just want to spend the day chilling and eating, but the dog needs a short walk!

Thank you, Anthony Eccleston, for the miles and miles and miles you have walked, so everyone can benefit from the wonderful countryside Willenhall Way, sits in.

Ironically, the late summer of 2020, during lockdown, we were also looking after two of our grandchildren. Ruby, then aged 7, drew a wonderful Rainbow, one evening for the NHS.

As something to do with her, whilst I was cleaning reclaimed bricks in the stack yard, I gave her a panel on the Dutch Barn to paint.

The NHS rainbow kept her busy for many afternoons that long spring, summer, and autumn. The schools had been shut for a very long time.

The farmers, who never stop anyway, kept the country, very well fed. I painted the next Panel, in recognition of them. Ruby painted the panel with all our family hands on it. My closest friend sent me a beautiful birthday card, which I have tried to paint on another panel. Willenhall Way was becoming to be quite an arty location.

I had asked a beautiful friend who lived in our village to paint Caravans pulled by Cows for our roadside signage. I hope you agree, they are unique and perfect for our Willenhall Legacy.

Gill Butterworth, thank you so much. You emigrated to Canada and painted these pictures from your new home. We all miss you so much in our community and your wonderful hubby David. We are blessed so much. David is our retired Vicar of Bettisfield, Bronington and Hanmer.

During Lockdown he began online services and has kept them going throughout all these last few years. I catch up with this truly amazing couple, via their ‘Thoughts from the Orchard’, every Monday morning, before I go to milk our herd. All via Facebook. They have a very strong community following.

Our Story in Pictures

Milk is life’s Kindness And Kindness is life’s Milk.

Finally, we have reached the month of August 2022, when Willenhall Way, will open its doors to become a caring and sharing, all year Touring Caravan and Camping Park.

Rog and I have built this park for everyone who enjoys the fresh clean air, the freedom, tranquility, peace, the grass on your feet, the countryside smells, the bird song, the sheep talk and the joy of relaxation with loved ones.

It’s taken six years can you believe. A three-year battle with a neighbour, who didn’t wish to share and then a three-year build, as we got more and more tangled up with the pandemic.

We count our blessing that we have both been fit and able to carry on with our passionate project, whilst still being dairy farmers, which wasn’t on our plans.

We have loved working with our treasured herd. The beautiful humble dairy cow, who delivers so much, that we often take for granted. Her milk, then turned into butter, cheese, yogurt, Ice cream, to name only a few. Such beautiful, intelligent graceful animals, we have both been so fortunate to have spent our entire lives with.

Willenhall Way, named after every one of our herds, past and present. TB crept into our lives in 2017 and has taken now over one hundred. This has been the hardest time of all for Roger and myself throughout our lives as dairy farmers. So far, only two actually had it.

Our trading logo for our herd and something we became renowned for in this area is Willenhall, Where’s there’s a WILL, there’s a WAY!

We have certainly needed a very strong passionate Will to see us through to where we are today.