An Oasis In Benfleet and the last of its kind.

Mo Perkins and Hilltop "Pick Your Own" fruit Farm

In the accompanying audio recording you will hear Maureen Perkins talking about her time as owner of the last (?) remaining “Pick Your Own” fruit farm in south Essex and her earlier experiences of providing training for horses and riders in the Benfleet and Thundersley area.

Her land is not easy to farm because of the steep slopes, but a visit to her hidden valley is a refreshing and  rewarding experience. I have always enjoyed the start of the soft fruit season … in my early teens, to pick for the local farmers was one of the few ways one could generate some extra pocket money….now it is a matter of consumption!

The Fishing lake
Rows of thorn-less blackberries
Rows of Tummel berries
Stand of walnut trees
Mo in the weighing room, 2003
Mo Perkins talks about Hilltop Farm
Mo talks about her youth, when she had horses, and running the fruit farm. 14 mins 57 secs

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  • Good Morning Julia,

    Thank you for your memory, which I have added to the page.

    Kind Regards,

    Pamela J. Bird-Gaines

    By Pamela Gaines (24/09/2023)
  • I used to work for Mo with the riding school in Thundersley, with my friend Paula, many years ago. It was great fun. Julia

    By Julia Newman (23/09/2023)
  • Used to go to her riding stables along the Chase in Thundersley, up on the Kiln Rd in the early 60’s. She taught so many of us in Benfleet and Thundersley how to ride.

    By Glen Cameron (17/06/2023)
  • I used to horse ride with Mo lovely lady.

    By Lisa (31/12/2020)
  • I’ve just been looking on this site out of curiosity. My Grandad ‘Frank Parker’ was the original owner of Hilltop Farm. He bought the land in 1921 after he moved there from Hertfordshire. My dad ‘Kenneth Parker’ took over from my Grandad.  I had the most fantastic time growing up there with my brother Graham. I remember when the lake was made, we even went skating on it in the winter.  Unfortunately my dad passed away when my brother and I were only 12 & 13 and my Mum Fiona had no choice but to eventually sell the farm. But I will never forget the fun times we had. Such fantastic memories. Sadly my mum passed away just over a year ago and the wonderful memories mean even more now.

    By Lesley Barnes (originally Parker) (27/11/2016)
  • Well that bought back some memories. I’d like to ask Mo if she knew Bill Shaw who also had horses on Manor Road Thundersley?

    Bill taught me to ride and I helped him with breaking in young horses/ponies. I was 11 at the time. Would publish a photo if it was easier.

    Click here to view Doug’s photos of Bill Shaw

    By Doug Mansfield (27/02/2016)
  • Hi, I’m interested in information about the fishing pond at Hill top.  Is it day ticket or members only?  Have you any contact details?

    By Graham Cook (27/01/2016)
  • What an interesting piece to listen to; I learned such a lot about the area I live in and didn’t know about! Thankyou “Mo”………….. I look forward to visiting your lovely oasis! Beryl

    By Beryl Sheppard (20/07/2013)

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