Christmas food and drink events this Sunday

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News, The Barn Cardington, Warden Abbey Vineyard

Please come and support Christmas events being held by two of BRCC’s community enterprises on Sunday 3rd December.

The Barn Cardington, our new deli/café/butchery, is holding a Christmas Tasting Day with free tasting samples and festive refreshments between 10.30and 4.30pm.

Warden Abbey Vineyard is holding a Christmas Wine Sale at Southill Park between 11am and 4pm.

Come and stock up with locally produced and/or sourced food & drink for your Christmas and New Year celebrations! Lots of Christmas gift ideas as well.


Opening soon – The Barn Cardington

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Job vacancies, Latest News, Rural Development, Tastes of Bedfordshire, Volunteering, Warden Abbey Vineyard

BRCC is preparing to reopen the Summerhill Farm Shop in Cardington under a new name, The Barn Cardington, in October 2017.

The Barn Cardington will continue Summerhill’s commitment to high-quality local produce, and for the first time will enable customers to eat in as well as take away. The butchery will be provided by the award-winning Woburn Country Foods. A new bakery, OurDough CIC, will also be established on site.

We are seeking casual and seasonal shop floor staff and volunteers. For more information please contact Chris Fox.

Come and visit the community vineyard!

Written by Jane Markham on . Posted in Latest News, Warden Abbey Vineyard

This year the Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard will be offering more tours of BRCC’s community vineyard than ever before.

As well as monthly vineyard tour days between May and September, a couple of new history tours have been added to the programme. These walks round the vineyard will be led by volunteer Margaret Roberts who is writing a book on the history of the abbey.  As well as telling the story of the abbey, she’ll interpret the landscape features surrounding the vineyard and what they reveal about the life of the abbey’s occupants.

All the dates for 2017 vineyard tours, new history tours, and the main Open Day in September are now on the vineyard website, where you can book on-line. Gift vouchers for tours available too! Follow this link for details:



CPRE Mark for Warden Abbey Vineyard

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Greensand Ridge LAG, Latest News, Warden Abbey Vineyard

BRCC is delighted that our Warden Abbey Vineyard won a prestigious CPRE Mark at the Living Countryside Awards on Tuesday night in the Sustainable Enterprise category.

The Awards were presented by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis at John O’ Gaunt Golf Club near Potton.

This adds to the success of two other BRCC projects at the last Awards in 2014, when the Biggleswade Jubilee Wood won a CPRE Mark and the Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre won a silver award.

There were also two CPRE Marks and a commendation for projects that had received funding through our Greensand Ridge Rural Development Programme: Jordans Mill, Clophill Eco Lodges and Rushmere Country Park Visitor Centre.

You can find out more here

Warden Abbey Vineyard Open Day & Wine Sale – 11th September 2016

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News, Warden Abbey Vineyard

Bedfordshire’s oldest vineyard is 30 this year!  Discover the hidden secrets of the medieval vineyard and abbey, why and how the monks made wine, and how we care for the vines all year round.

There will also be tours, wine tastings, other local food stalls, a “pop up” wine school, BBQ and other refreshments. Our Warden Abbey wines will be available to taste & buy (cash and cheques only please).  Also a rare opportunity to visit both the vineyard and the historic Warden Abbey building which is being thrown open by the Landmark Trust.

Located near Old Warden, the vineyard is now run by BRCC as a community vineyard which is cared for all year round by volunteers and works with other local charities and schools. The Open Day is organised by the Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard and is our main fundraiser of the year, to keep this historic vineyard for the community.

Open 11 am to 4 pm. Entry: Adults £2, accompanied children free.

The vineyard is on a gentle slope and the ground is uneven and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility.

For further information visit the Warden Abbey Vineyard website.

BRCC’s Warden Abbey Vineyard featured on BBC Look East

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News, Volunteering, Warden Abbey Vineyard

Our Warden Abbey Community Vineyard project had a visit from a BBC crew yesterday in the glorious sunshine.

A two and a half minute snippet shown on BBC Look East that evening included short interviews with volunteers, Vineyard Manager Jane Markham and Master of Wine Derek Smedley, as well as footage of caring for the vines and a tasting of the ‘dosage’ for our 2014 sparkling wine, due to come out before Christmas.

You can still watch on the BBC iplayer until 7pm today at

Vine pruning – dark art or science? Workshop 13th February

Written by Jane Markham on . Posted in Latest News, Volunteering, Warden Abbey Vineyard

A new year and a new vintage in the making! Pruning is a great time for new volunteers to come along to BRCC’s Warden Abbey Community Vineyard. So if you’ve been thinking of volunteering, why not take the plunge and join our merry bunch at our regular Tuesday and Friday sessions?!  For those who can’t make weekdays, we’re also holding sessions on Sunday 31st January and Sunday 21st February.   Just contact vineyard manager Jane Markham on 07981 113714 or

New this year, we’re also running a vine pruning workshop “Vine Pruning – Dark Art or Science” on Saturday 13th February, which explores the art of grapevine pruning in more depth.  Maybe you have grapevines at home and would like to know more about pruning, or why the way you prune affects how much fruit you get? This day is for you! The workshop blends theory and practical experience, and goes into more depth than we can do at regular volunteer sessions.

Go to more information and booking

Frost in the vineyard

Frost in the vineyard

BRCC wins national Fundraising Innovation award

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Volunteering, Warden Abbey Vineyard

BRCC has won the Fundraising Innovation category of the first ever Grow your Tenner awards, run by Localgiving. This award recognises the charity that ran the most effective, unique and inspired fundraising campaign to make the most out of Grow Your Tenner in 2014.

Grow Your Tenner is an online donations matching scheme, matching donations of up to £10. We used it as an opportunity to run a “Donate a Vine” campaign, where supporters were encouraged to make a £10 donation towards planting new vines at Warden Abbey Community Vineyard. The campaign was promoted via email, web, social media, wine trade press and staff email signatures.

The campaign raised over £2,000 for the project from 89 new donors. This enabled over 200 vines to be planted, the first at the vineyard since it was first planted almost 30 years ago.

The vines were planted on 17 and 19 May 2015.  Vineyard Manager Jane Markham said at the time: “The new planting of over 200 vines is a big milestone for the restoration of this historic vineyard. We were delighted that Charles Whitbread was able to join us on one of our planting days, as this made a lovely link to Lady Whitbread’s original vision of restoring the medieval vineyard when she planted vines at Warden Abbey back in 1986.  All our volunteers did an amazing job to get it all planted up despite all that the weather threw at us this week.”

You can find more information about the Grow your Tenner awards, including more information about our successful campaign, here.

“Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard” launched in English Wine week.

Written by Jane Markham on . Posted in Latest News, Rural campaigns, Warden Abbey Vineyard

The Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard has just launched its new membership scheme in a package that will appeal to supporters, gardeners and wine lovers alike.  For a modest subscription, members can help support the community vineyard project and in return benefit from a range of opportunities.

Vineyard Manager Jane Markham said “It’s an exciting time for English wine, with home grown wines now gaining international awards, the number of vineyards expanding rapidly, and growing press interest. Now people can get involved through our new membership scheme. As well as newsletters, discounts and special events, members will be able to arrange to visit us as many times as they like for free when we are at the vineyard, so they can see the vines and grapes developing throughout the year. There aren’t many working vineyards where you could do that and someone has already suggested it would be really nice gift for a wine enthusiast!”

Full details are on the vineyard website at

The vineyard has been managed by BRCC as a community venture since 2010.  The Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard was set up by volunteers to spread the word about the vineyard, its activities and opportunities, to increase the involvement of people in the vineyard, and to raise funds to support the project and further development of this historic vineyard.

Warden Abbey grapes

Warden Abbey grapes

The spring vineyard at Warden Abbey

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News, Warden Abbey Vineyard

The Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard are opening the vineyard for two tours as part of national celebrations for English Wine Week on Friday 29th May 2015.

Tours start at 11.30am and 2.30 pm and last 1.5 – 2 hours and include a tasting of two of the latest wines.

Entry is £8 for adults (accompanied children free) and must be booked in advance.

Contact or 07981 113714.

The vineyard is bursting into life at this time of year, and you can discover the secrets of its medieval history.

You can download the poster here

Contact us

  • Main Office.
    The Old School
    MK44 3SX

    (01234) 838771
  • Email.
  • Follow us.

Latest on twitter

Exciting flexible, part-time contract opportunity with BRCC as LAG Officer, helping to bring forward applications f…