Reviews The Veg Plot

All tooled up

Tool alert!
Word has reached our ears that the nation’s favourite outdoor charity, the National Trust, have teamed up with Loughborough-based toolmakers Charles Bentley & Son to produce a range of over 30 quality gardening products, to be sold in selected garden centes, stores and National Trust shops.

Bentley are no greenhorns when it comes to knocking out sturdy work implements… the 155 year old company started out providing brushes for Victorian chimney sweeps. Business presumably took off when the sending of children up chimney stacks with bristly hats was deemed a tad unreasonable.

We managed to get our filthy mitts on a stainless steel soil rake and a potting scoop, and very nice they are too. We can attest that both feel well balanced and solid, and thumbs up for their traditionally styled, hand-crafted aesthetic. I have already enlisted the help of the scoop to pot some chilli plants* whilst Nick is looking forward to setting the rake loose on his weed-sullied brassica bed.

The National Trust Bentley tool collection features (as you would expect) a fine array of brushes and scrubbers alongside some of the more traditional garden implements – from trowels to planters, forks to rakes.

You can purchase yours at participating National trust/ garden centres or you can order online here…

* The same scoop will undoubtably be used to scoop the wilted seedlings into the bin.

Bentley tools


Our Top Five, South-Westerly National Trust destinations.

1. Barrington Court
Home to our pal Paul the Potter, and location for some shots in our upcoming book. Also has vast apple tree collection, and better still, it’s only a 10 minute drive away from both Perrys and Burrow Hill cider farms.
A word of caution: Beware the beehives that live in the woods… the inhabitants can be quite grumpy when approached, as our stung faces can attest.

2. Prior Park
Within turnip-hurling distance to our allotment. Sup up bucolic views of Bath and beyond from Ralph Allen’s sweeping parkland. Also has a Palladian bridge adorned with historical serifed graffiti, inscribed by the penknives of wayward Georgian schoolboys.

3. Lacock Abbey
Filming location for Wolf Hall (see also Barrington Court) a load of Harry Potter films and, er, a couple of episodes of the Antiques Roadshow. They also run a decent Apple Day in October and theres an old brewery next to the abbey that’s worth a peek.

4. King Alfreds Tower
A colossal folly that straddles the Somerset/Wiltshire border on the Stourhead estate and offers commanding views of four counties. Be warned … this priapic pile of bricks is not for jelly legged. Vertigo sufferers such as Nick (he gets vertigo standing on a spade) may want to forgo the 205 steps to the top in favour of a scotch egg and a Mars bar in the car park.

5. Studland Beach
The finest stretch of sand in Dorset, bar non. The nearby ferry across to Sandbanks and surrounding Dorset countryside appeared in Mike Leighs awesome ‘Nuts in May‘. Was also the filming location for a Coldplay video (but we won’t hold that against it). On certain summer days the ice cream boat might pay the beach a visit, so don’t forget to bring a tuppence** and a pair of trunks.

** £2.50

Note: Rich contacted the manufacturers to ask for tools to review after he saw a very nice photo of them


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