Nicky moved to Mereside Farm in 1995 when she married Rodney and since then the farm has undergone a never-ending programme of improvements. Nicky enjoys riding, open water swimming (including in The Mere), cycling and walking, so is able to give first-hand advice about local activities.
Rodney has lived in Ellesmere all his life. He farmed the land at Mereside Farm, milked the cows in The Shippon, raised pigs in the outbuildings, and is still baling hay every year. He took over the butchery business in Ellesmere in the mid-1980s and was handed the original – and very old – recipe for the traditional Ellesmere pork sausages and Pork Pies which, since 2000, he has made at Mereside Farm.
History of Mereside Farm Accommodation
Nicky began offering bed and breakfast accommodation in the farmhouse in 1996 and after a few years expanded the number of rooms available by converting The Shippon, an agricultural building close to the farmhouse, into three ground-floor apartments. The years spent providing accommodation in the farmhouse and meeting lots of new people – and having lots of conversations – gave an excellent insight into the needs and requirements of the variety of guests who stayed; so each of the apartments in The Shippon were individually designed, each had their own mini-kitchens and personal touches, and one of the apartments was made suitable for those with reduced mobility.
As The Shippon was proving to be a successful venture, in 2010 Nicky went on to convert The Hayloft into three studio-style apartments, all on the first floor, once again with their own mini-kitchens, en-suites and with all the thoughtful little extras which make for an enjoyable stay. It was after the success of The Hayloft that a realistic approach had to be taken: making breakfasts for so many guests was becoming a little overwhelming! Given the fantastic location of The Boathouse restaurant, literally just around the corner from Mereside Farm, the decision was made that guests could either soak-up the stunning views across The Mere as they enjoyed their breakfasts in The Boathouse, or they could visit any of the other many eateries in Ellesmere – or there was always the option to self-cater. And so, in 2016, Mereside Farm became entirely self-catering.
In 2019, after many years of providing accommodation, meeting lots of lovely people and being blessed with plenty of return guests, it was time for an upgrade! Numbers One, Two and Three The Shippon were changed from three to two apartments, which were re-named The Old Dairy and The Shippon, and into which fully-fitted kitchens were installed. Both the apartments were refurbished and, in the case of The Shippon, expanded to include a separate kitchen-diner. Whilst in The Hayloft, two of the three studio-style apartments were combined to form a one-bedroom apartment with an open-plan living space, including fully fitted kitchen. The third studio was renovated, redecorated and re-named The Granary.
Work on the accommodation is a labour of love; there is constant redecorating, continual provision of new linen and towels, and, very importantly, all of the accommodation is always kept to a high standard of cleanliness and quality. Outside, the garden pots are replanted every Spring and the garden beds are kept in good order; plus there is annual purchasing of additional garden furniture and new projects are always on the go.