Five Things: Martin Smith

PUBLISHED: 12:17 24 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:18 24 April 2017

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EXG MAY 17 Five Things New


Martin Smith, from ground care equipment specialists Grasshopper, picks five of his favourite things about the county

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Martin Smith

Martin Smith has been repairing and caring for garden machinery for 25 years, and started on an apprenticeship scheme at Merrest Wood College in Guildford. Today he works for Grasshopper, specialists in domestic and commercial sales of ground care equipment, offering sales advice, servicing and spares, and repairs for garden machinery and hand tools. Martin works at Grasshopper’s Colchester branch, based at Poplar Nurseries in Marks Tey.

Favourite Place to Eat

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The Wilkins & Sons Tea Room at the Tiptree Jam factory is a favourite of mine. If you fancy a light meal or the treat of a special afternoon tea, or just an excuse to taste the famous Tiptree jams with cream and scones, then this is the place to visit. On warm days you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the sun, and while it can get busy, it is worth the wait. Friendly welcoming staff make the experience enjoyable and the afternoon teas here are a real treat with sandwiches, cakes and tea all presented beautifully on a stand. The factory shop adjoins the restaurant, means you can also buy your favourite jams or relish before you go home.

Favourite Essex memory

Looking into your family tree has become quite popular in recent years and one of my fondest memories is seeing my wife’s face when she was shown photos of her great uncle and her great grandfather, who she had never known, and discovered that her father’s family had lived in Essex for several generations. She got to meet an elderly cousin of her father who was able to fill her in on a lot of family history. Needless to say, copies were taken and will form part of her family history that will be passed down to the next generation.

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Favourite Place to Shop

Poplar Nurseries in Marks Tey is so much more than a regular nursery. You’ll find great plants, garden equipment and everything to do with gardens and leisure, but also gifts, homewares, a farm shop and a great restaurant too. Young children will enjoy the play area and the steam train, which takes a short circuit through the grounds. All this plus associated outlets within the garden centre site where you can get anything from a haircut, a lawn mower or extend your craft skills – there is something for all. And don’t forget to see the water-spouting elephant!

Favourite Place to visit

A walk along the Wivenhoe Trail is great in all weathers. Starting at the Hythe area in Colchester, it wanders along the river Colne to Wivenhoe and, if you are feeling fit, to Alresford Creek. The walk encompasses urban areas on the edge of Colchester, beautiful countryside, village life in Wivenhoe and river life following the River Colne as it winds its way out to sea. Shops and pubs in Wivenhoe can break the journey and the secluded beach towards Alresford Creek can be a welcome rest spot too. Tired walkers can then take the bus or train back from Wivenhoe.

My favourite Essex fact

In the village of Kelvedon Hatch there is a dilapidated bungalow in a secluded spot off the main road. This bungalow however has a secret in that it is the entrance to an underground bunker that was prepared for use in times of conflict. Visitors can go underground via corridors that lead to communication rooms and offices, and even living accommodation. Although it is quiet now, you can imagine how it would have been with people living down there. It is a real piece of British history that should be preserved as a museum and educational site.

Get in Touch

Grasshopper Horticultural Ltd

Colchester Branch

Poplar Nurseries

Coggeshall Road

Marks Tey, Colchester


01206 212923

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