Outdoor Activities


We are fortunate to have a large garden in the centre of Leek, which is popular with visitors in spring, summer and autumn.  The terrace allows al fresco eating and drinking and overlooks one of two spacious lawns.

Children are particularly welcome to run around and explore, although we do ask parents or carers to keep an eye on them and encourage them to respect the plants and wildlife.  Dogs are also welcome.

Fourteen make festive wreaths at the Foxlowe

Saturday’s wreath workshop, organised by the Foxlowe gardeners, saw a wonderful diversity of Christmas wreaths being made by our nimble-fingered participants, whose ages ranged from 13 to 86.  Everyone took home a beautiful and unique wreath – a lovely way to spend a pre-Christmas Saturday morning in good company.

Thanks to all who took part and especially to Chris, who made an extra wreath for the Foxlowe’s own front door.


Apple Fest Juice and Apples for Sale in Cafe

If you like the taste of real apples, not the flavourless supermarket varieties or oversweetened commercial juice that tastes nothing like the real thing, come and buy some in the Foxlowe Cafe.  Come soon if you want juice, as stocks are limited.  Tasting notes provided for the apples, which will include a few grown in the Foxlowe garden.   The current variety is Sunset (very few) and we will feed in the Pixies in December, as they are a late-eating variety.

Apple Fest Indoors – Come and Join Us!

Young Brian has persuaded the gardeners to bring their Apple Fest indoors this year (tomorrow, Sat 21st October).  And what better place to be on a wet and windy day than the Foxlowe, having warming apple and parsnip soup in the cafe and tasting apple cake, jam, jelly and chutney in the Function Room.  There will be local dry cider to taste and/or buy, plus 12 varieties of fabulous English apples, most from Brogdale in Kent, plus apple games including apple bobbing on the patio and face-painting indoors.

The main activity will be making delectable apple juice out of everyone’s windfalls and surplus apples.  Come and help feed the voracious new apple mill.  The event starts at 11.00 am and the last apples are weighed in at 2.00 pm, but most activities will continue till 3.00.


The Gateway Shedders will also be there, in the bar, selling their wonderful products made from recycled wood. They make great Christmas presents and stocking fillers.

Thanks, but keep drinking the wine

Sterling work is being done by Foxlowe supporters to provide enough bottles for the apple juice at Apple Fest this year.  However, the new mill is so efficient at getting the juice out of the apples, we’re not sure we have enough bottles yet.  It’s a difficult task but….

All contributions (wine bottles with screw tops) are welcome.  Please leave beside the garden shed or behind the bar if you can contribute.

We hope to have enough spares on the day but to be sure of containers to take your juice home, please bring some bottles along with any apples.  Full details in What’s On.



New Mill for Apple Fest


The gardeners are thrilled to have a very efficient new electric mill to prepare apples for juicing.  Thanks to Gilbert for testing it for us.

It means much less effort but also more juice for the same weight of apples.

We hope everyone bringing apples to Apple Fest for juicing remembers to bring their own screw-top bottles, ideally wine bottles, otherwise we will run out very soon.  Glass bottles essential for pasteurising.

Please bring 1 bottle for every 2.5 kilogrammes of apples. For details see

Plants to Go!

Outside – on the Patio.

The plants on and close to the stand are free to anyone who can give them a good home in exchange for a donation.

There are donation boxes in the bar and beside the inner front door.



Plant Share and Earthworm Watch

Despite the rain, the Plant Share saw many plants exchanged and lots of donations coming to the Foxlowe.  All the leftover hardy plants  have been left on a wooden tray on the patio in front of the dancing railings.  They are available for anyone who would like them to take away in exchange for a donation.  This can be handed in at the cafe or left in one of the donation boxes (beside the inside front door and in the bar).  We will keep the tender plants in greenhouses for a while longer and put them out in June.

On the day we had enthusiastic young volunteers to help with our Citizen Science earthworm count.  Our experiment was testing the hypothesis that earthworms like soil better if it has compost materials above it than if the surface is bare.  Their expert counting recorded 35 worms under soil that had been covered by Foxlowe veg peelings for a month and only 9 under the surface that had been left bare.  We will be sending the results into the Natural History Museum to add to their data collected from elsewhere.  Many thanks to all involved.



Citizen Science in the Foxlowe garden

The Gardeners have launched a Citizen Science project in the garden as part of the Natural History Museum’s Earthworm Watch.

Join us at the Plant Share from 11 – 12 noon to explore the Foxlowe Garden and find out how to get involved!

The earthworm experiment was started at the April Seed Share, when we covered one site with vegetable peelings (from the Café kitchen) and left the other bare (control).  We will be digging down to see which site the worms prefer and what sort of worms are there.  For the survey we’ll be digging under different types of garden surface (grass, bare soil, plants, layer of comfrey leaves) to see which type the worms like best. No need to bring tools, just be prepared to get your hands dirty!

There will also be the chance to win a very special Misco chocolate lolly by guessing the number of brandling worms in a jar of compost.  The winners will be those whose guesses are closest to the number we’ve counted into the jar.

Anyone who would like to join us will be very welcome.

Apple Fest


The Apple Fest saw 110 bottles of scrummy additive-free juiced though communal effort on a beautiful autumn day in the garden.  Visitors were kept fortified with lots of different apple cakes,  local award-winning cider from Congleton Community Co-op and heritage apples from the National Fruit Collection in Kent. These are exceptional apples that can’t be easily bought elsewhere.


Leftover apples and cider are now available for sale in the café and bar.


A day of Cake at the Foxlowe


Leek’s increasingly popular Food & Drink Festival filled the town this Saturday (19th March), reportedly bringing incoming traffic to a standstill on occasions.  The Foxlowe Café played its part, providing a seemingly endless supply of Lemon Drizzle cake as part of the Great Leek Bake-off in addition to countless coffees, lunches and afternoon teas.

The Foxlowe Garden team, who are celebrating International Year of Pulses, arranged their Seed Swap to coincide with the event and contributed to the cake fest with a range of cakes made from pulses.   Thanks to Penny, Jane and Alison who made them and also to the lovely people who brought seeds to share and/or left donations.  Leftover seeds will go to the next seed swap, which will take place on Saturday, 9th April.  Continue reading →