The yard and the yurt at River Cottage HQ

It's been a while since my mad day trip to River Cottage HQ in Devon - and yes, it was a long day - I'm not sure why but I haven't shared more of my photos, but I will today. There's still more to show from the garden, but first I want to start with some from the yard and of the yurt. 

We arrived in the yard by tractor, well in the trailer behind the tractor and it was quite a bumpy ride. And quite a descent. The ride back up later that evening after all the delicious food was equally as bumpy, and nowhere near as welcome, although I wasn't so keen on walking back either.

It's fair to say I was quite excited about my trip to River Cottage as I'm quite a big Hugh F-W fan and have several of his cookbooks and approve of his campaigns.  So arriving in the yard was a bit of a thing, but it wasn't quite how I expected it to be.  I'd seen the garden, and the kitchen in the TV shows so was surprised to find myself looking at these:

a window above a trough in the yard at River Cottage HQ
the yard at River Cottage HQ

And I was intrigued. Clearly part of an old building but full of character and for me adding to the charm of the place. The zinc trough caught my eye and I'd quite happily have taken it home with me, maybe the tractor would come in handy after all?! It was planted up with fennel and wallflowers and while it's not a combination I'd have thought of, it's one I can imagine working well as both grow to similar heights.

a herb trough with dill and wallflowers

My visit was in November - I know, where has the time gone? - so the wallflowers had a little more growing to do before they flowered, but I'm curious to know what colours they were. Yellow would echo the fennel flowers, but the reddy browns would be a great contrast. Ah well, I guess I'll never know.

As I explored the yard I did catch a quick glimpse of the garden and I was oh so tempted to sneak off and explore it on my own. But I thought that would be slightly rude and so for now, it was just this peek.

A glimpse into the River Cottage HQ garden

I rejoined the others back in the barn, still looking wistfully over at the garden. The lights momentarily caught my eye, and then there was the food demonstration, and only after that was I set free into the garden and able to wander around the farmhouse. 

looking out onto the yard at River Cottage HQ

The garden was everything I hoped it would be, but I'm teasing you now as I've still some more photos of the yard, and of the yurt to show you. There was evidence all around that it's very much a working farm, not just the axe and pile of logs, but also the chefs who were hurriedly rushing around cooking my dinner!  All produce, if not grown at River Cottage, is sourced locally as you'd expect.

evidence of a working farm at River Cottage HQ
spotted - a feather in the yard at River Cottage HQ

I'm saying nothing, but there's no guarantee that the photo above and the one below aren't related.

Every yard has a cat right, and River Cottage HQ was no different
the heat source in the centre of the yurt at River Cottage HQ

Despite that innocent face, and cheeky tongue. And yes, it's a one-eyed cat.

Elsewhere on the farm, and on the other side of the barn was the yurt, which was totally unexpected and lovely and warm. The fire in the centre of the tent saw to that.

With straw bales around the edge it was a great place to sit down and chat to the other bloggers there that day. Some of whom I knew from online, some I'd met in real life before and others that were friends in the making.

Bunting decorated the edges, and I was reminded then and am again now, that I'm seriously lacking in the bunting department.

I keep promising myself that I'll make some - I have one string, which, sssh!, I bought and don't put up often enough - and with our party in the garden getting ever closer, then I really should move them up my sewing to do list.

There was nothing at River Cottage HQ that changed my view of the whole set-up, the only thing that would have made it better would have been for Hugh himself to be in attendance. And you can bet that if that had happened, you'd have already known about it!

Bunting in the yurt above the straw bales at River Cottage HQ

One last photo before I go, and it's another teasing shot of the garden. This time from the farmhouse kitchen window, and it looks just as it does on the TV. That's all the teasing I'm doing for now, I'll share photos from the garden in a future post, and I promise it'll be soon.

A look out the farmhouse window over the River Cottage garden

But in the meantime, let me know if you're a Hugh fan, and if you've a favourite recipe - or campaign - that you're a fan of.

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* With thanks to River Cottage and Flea Enterprises for the invitation and arrangements for my visit.