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Featured in the December 2010 issue

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Carlie Shucksmith’s search for the perfect Christmas tree took her to Castle Farm at Fillingham

It is that time of year again when we all venture into the corner of the attic and dust off the old faithful Christmas decorations. If you’re looking to add a touch more magic to your festivities this year and want to make your tree a little bit more special, then Fillingham Christmas Trees are offering a truly unique experience.

On the 27th and 28th November, visitors will have the opportunity to take a tractor and trailer ride out to the plantation at Castle Farm, and wander amongst the thousands of trees to pick out their perfect centrepiece. To find out more, we visited the plantation to pick out a tree for ourselves and experience the magic.

Farmer William Rose says he has always had an interest in trees. During the 1970s, he took over Manor Farm and went into an arable farming partnership with his brother Alfred, growing wheat, rape and beans across 2500 acres. With a five acre paddock and no cattle to fill it, the brothers decided to plant some Christmas trees. Each year they planted more trees and began selling them twenty years ago in a barn store at Castle Farm.

As the business grew, they expanded into a larger shed and began selling decorations to the public and online. The website, www.ChristmasTimeUK.com, was established to supply lights and decorations from the store, and has since become the largest website in the country for Christmas decorations.

ChristmasTimeUK now supplies large restaurant chains, such as Pizza Express and ASK, as well as having provided trees for Nigella Lawson’s Christmas TV special and Battersea Power Station for a snowboarding festival. In conjunction with the decorations, trees are also shipped both nationally and internationally and have even been sent along with parcels of Christmas goodies to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Every tree is individual. Although a selection of trees may have all been growing for ten years, they may all be different sizes,” explains William. “I want visitors to be able to experience the farm to see how a Christmas tree is looked after, and how long they take to grow. People will then see their tree as being more special and unique, as everyone has a different idea of what makes a perfect Christmas tree.”

Castle Farm has such a wide variety and size of trees that William is confident everyone will find their perfect tree. The range of cut trees available includes Norway Spruce, Nordman Fir, Blue Spruce (which really is blue!), Fraser Fir, Scots Pine and Omorika. Visitors can also find living potted trees of Norway Spruce, Nordman Fir, Fraser Fir and Omorika, ranging from 3ft to 6ft. The fantastic benefit of a pot grown living tree is that after Christmas, you can re-plant it in your garden and nurture it until the following year. With plantation staff happy to talk to you about how the trees are grown and maintained, you will be able to care for your perfect tree until you are ready to enjoy it again the following year!

William is truly passionate about his plantation and is pleased that visitors will be able to gain a unique tranquil forest experience when they visit the farm.

“There is something quite magical about children choosing their own tree. It will be really exciting if they can see the tree growing in the forest and then later on it is in their home.”

After enjoying a tractor and trailer ride across the fields and open countryside, families will have as much time as they wish to explore the acres of different trees. Plantation staff in their Santa hats will be on hand to tell the story of the life of the tree, and visitors may even spot some special wildlife during their exploration. After seeking out your perfect tree, you will be able to wrap a label around it to signify it has been chosen to go to a new home. Visitors can take home their tree on the same day or can arrange a collection day when the tree will be cut and waiting for them to pick up.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to see an exciting undercover area packed with gift ideas and beautiful decorations. For those who don’t wish to travel into the fields, there will be an extensive range of cut and pot grown living trees in a variety of sizes to choose from in the courtyard. If you feel you need to warm up and relax after exploring the forest, there will be a range of hot and cold refreshments including bacon rolls, soup, cup-cakes and hot chocolate, with all proceeds going to Fillingham Church. Whilst parents are tempted by tastings of delicious Lincolnshire produce from Welbourne’s Bakery, Jennie’s Jams and Belvoir Cordials, the children will have chance to see Bruno the donkey and the miniature train as it chugs around the store.

CHRISTMAS AT CASTLE FARM, FILLINGHAM
Fillingham Christmas Trees opening weekend takes place on the 27th and 28th November from 9am until 5pm, with the chance to enjoy the tractor and trailer ride as well as visiting the undercover shopping area and sampling some delicious Lincolnshire produce.

Following the opening weekend, the shop will be open daily from 9am to 5pm and until 6pm on Friday, 10th and 17th December. If you are unable to find your perfect tree then by arrangement, you will have the opportunity to venture on a walk into the plantation to label one for yourself.

As the perfect end to the day, if the little boys and girls have been good, Santa will be waiting in his armchair by the fire to give them a gift and a baby living potted tree that they can take home and look after. Admission to see Santa is £3.50 and he will be in his grotto on 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th December from 10am to 4pm.

An extensive range of Christmas products and decorations are available for customers to buy online and then collect at the shop. Please visit www.ChristmasTimeUK.com to view the assortment of Christmas goodies. For more information about Fillingham Christmas trees log on to www.fillingham-trees.co.uk or call 01427 667014.

Fillingam Trees is situated at Castle Farm, Fillingham – eight miles north of Lincoln and six miles east of Gainsborough on the B1398.

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