Our Pimhill Story
Pimhill Farm was bought in 1923 by John Lees Mayall. He bought the farm for his son Sam who had suffered from tuberculosis as a boy and who had been advised by doctors to seek an outdoor profession.
Sam was consequently very keen to be able to supply tuberculin free milk. He brought in a herd of Ayrshire cattle from Scotland who arrived at the local railway station. He was the second farmer in Shropshire to supply TB free milk and you will see milk bottles in the Courthouse which date from Sam’s early milk rounds.
In 1948 his son Richard joined his father in the farming business. At agricultural college Richard was lent the book “Humus and the farmer” by Friend Sykes. That moment was to change the direction of Pimhill Farm entirely.
Richard and Sam were so impressed by Friend Sykes’ book and his emphasis on the importance of soil health that they took the decision not to use artificial fertilisers and chemicals. This was contrary to advice at the time when greater production was being encouraged nationally as a result of concerns over food shortages in the war. In 1949 they went ‘organic’ (though at the time it was not known as such). This was not done with a market in mind: it was a decision taken on the strength of their belief that this was the best way forward for both their land and for their livestock.
Sam Mayall became very involved with the recently formed Soil Association, becoming Vice President for a number of years. It was during the 1950s that they decided to market their cereals. They reasoned that if the wheat and oats they were growing were better for their animals, it followed that they should also be better for people. \
Word gradually spread about their stoneground flour and porridge oats, mainly via Sam’s Soil Association work, and due to demand, Pimhill Mill evolved into an important farm enterprise. Sam and Richard added muesli to the range in the 1950s. Pimhill Farm had the first organic mill in the UK and produced the first organic porridge oats and muesli in the UK.
Pimhill Farm is now run by the third generation of the Mayall family, Ginny, together with her husband Ian Anderson.
There is a dairy herd of 260 cows and they grow wheat and oats for Pimhill Mill. The range offered by the Mill has been extended recently to include a new muesli and oatcakes. Now organic for 65 years wild flowers are in abundance on the farm. In a recent survey many rare flowers were recorded including the Corn Buttercup which hadn’t been recorded in Shropshire for 50 years but used to be very common in wheat fields.
Ginny and Ian are keen to look after the farm as a whole which includes it’s ancient buildings. To this end they started restoration of the Elizabethan Pimhill Barn in 2010. There was no business plan in mind only a fervent wish that someone may wish to hire it for events.
Any monies raised would be channelled into the repair and restoration of the remaining Elizabethan buildings. Happily the restoration of the Barn has enabled the restoration of the Courthouse finished in the Summer of 2014.