Shropshire

Shropshire couple's heartbreak at leaving lavender 'paradise'

Lavender fields Image copyright Shropshire Lavender
Image caption Robin and Joanna Spencer have been welcoming visitors to their lavender fields since 2002

A couple who have been welcoming visitors to their lavender fields for more than 15 years say they are heartbroken to be leaving their "little bit of paradise".

Robin and Joanna Spencer bought their farm near Newport, Shropshire, 30 years ago; growing lavender there since 2002.

But they say they will no longer be opening the site to the public which flocks to it every summer as they are retiring to Scotland.

They hope to sell it to another family.

"We want to leave a legacy here," said Mr Spencer, adding the lavender's growing and cutting - all done by hand - had become a "struggle" for the couple in their late 60s.

Image copyright Shropshire Lavender
Image caption The couple estimate they have between 15,000 and 20,000 lavender plants

He said: "Age has caught up with us. My leg is aching and I can't cut the lavender - it's just time to move on."

Mrs Spencer agreed. "We have lived our dream, but we're getting older," she said.

Starting with 200 plants in the early 2000s, the Spencers now have between 15,000 and 20,000, which they sell in bunches or use in products including essential oils and soaps.

Image copyright Shropshire Lavender
Image caption The lavender is sold in bunches and used to make products which the couple sell online

Mr Spencer said: "As I was cutting the lavender yesterday, I thought 'God, I'm going to miss this, it's so beautiful'.

"It's a little bit of paradise - I sometimes wonder if I am in heaven."

Shropshire Lavender Fields will be open to visitors until the end of August.

Image copyright Shropshire Lavender
Image caption Mr and Mrs Spencer cut all the lavender by hand

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