With views of the hills as far as the eye can see, there are few more spectacular places to stop for ice cream in the northwest than at Blaze Farm. This hilltop farm, which produces award-winning Hilly Billy ice cream, has a nature trail around its farmland with panoramic views of the Cheshire plains and the Peak District.
The ice cream farm is a popular destination for families as there are also a host of animals on the farm that you can visit – including goats, miniature ponies, sheep and ducks on a tranquil duck pond on the site. There are also large tea rooms serving hot and cold breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon snacks with indoor and outdoor seating.
Outside you can take in breathtaking views of the Cheshire countryside and peaks, including the distinctive peak of Shutlingsloe and Macclesfield Forest. Blaze Farm is located in the village of Wildboarclough in Macclesfield, on the main A54 road between Congleton and Buxton.
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You can take a short loop around the farm taking in the duck ponds and the wonderful views over the farmland. And, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can take one of the nature trails further into the woods where you’ll find tree stump carvings of woodland animals.
The base half of the nature trail is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. The second, more challenging part of the trail takes hikers up 1,200 feet to the Hield Rocks – with some awesome views once you reach the top.
All dogs must be kept on a leash. Both routes end at the same location and are great for spotting wildlife among the ancient woods.
The farm is run by the Waller family, who first ventured into ice cream making 20 years ago – producing all of their own ice cream from their own dairy herd. The farm quickly gained a reputation for its tasty scoops and several awards followed for its Hilly Billy Ice Cream brand.
They serve daily changing flavors served from the scoop in the store – and you can choose one scoop from £2.50 and two scoops from £3.75, with the option of traditional cone or waffle cones at chocolate. Flavors on our tour included Divine Turkish Delight, White Chocolate Mountain, Bubblegum Ripple, Caramel Malt Scoop as well as the more traditional flavors like Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, lemon and vanilla.
The kids love the outdoor seating area – which comes with a refurbished old tractor they can all jump into. And just try to steer them away from a tube slide that takes them up the hill (recommended for kids over three only).
More recently, a barn near the entrance to the site has been transformed into a new attraction on the site – The Potty Sheep. The ceramic painting studio is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and can be booked for parties as well as regular sessions for families and friends to get creative in the studio.
Back in the ice cream shop and lounge, there’s also a full menu of hot and cold treats for those who might not be in the mood for ice cream, but be warned, no hot items are served. after 3:30 p.m. Hot drinks are priced at £1.80 with freshly brewed teas and coffees and hot chocolates from £2.
You can get a scone with jam and cream for just £2.50, toasted sandwiches from £4, and you can also get Staffordshire oatmeal cakes from £4 and potatoes earth in jacket from £4.75.
Here, sheep roam wild in the fields while chickens also strut around the farm. There are also rare breed rams to visit on the farm itself, as well as adorable miniature ponies and donkeys.
If you are going this way for a day it is only a ten minute drive up the road to the High Peak Tea Rooms – which we recently featured in the MEN. The owners boast of being the “highest tea room in England” and, as you might expect, it also has spectacular views over the rolling countryside.
How to get there
Blaze Farm is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Monday and Tuesday). It opens on public holidays, but will be closed on Friday June 3 for the Queen’s Jubilee.
The farm is based on the main A54 Buxton road between Congleton and Buxton and is well signposted, with the postcode for satnav of SK11 0BL.
For those using public transport, bus service 58 from Macclesfield to Buxton, operated by High Peak, stops at Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough. There are main train stations at Macclesfield and Buxton.
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