Easter Tour – Day 4 – River Cottage Spring Fair

After a lovely lie in and a hearty breakfast of delicious bacon sandwiches we were ready to head down to the famous pad of Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall, River Cottage. We had been very kindly invited to come down to the Spring Fair by River Cottage HQ earlier in the year. As we are staying with family we absolutely had to have them come along too, so with Lucan and 6 year old twins in tow the whole day was going to be great fun.

We found the farm fairly easily and prepared for the Tractor ride down to where the action was. Lucan was beside himself with excitement at the prospect of going on on the tractor, and the twins were pretty excited too. The bumpy journey down to the River Cottage HQ was quite stunning and showed off the Devon countryside to it’s fullest, the sun even came out just as we arrived to show us the site in all its glory.

There were lots of different areas to the fair and the thing that struck me most, apart from Lucan’s vocal disappointment at leaving the tractor behind, was the great way the site was set out to guide you through and keep each area feeling buzzing but not hectic. We were particularly taken by the blacksmiths as they were making pieces before our eyes and the sounds and smells of the bellows and the coals really added to the experience. We later bought a hand forged fire poker and hook. As we pulled ourselves away from them we went to get a cup of tea and a piece of cake. These were being served out of Hugh’s kitchen door. The Elderflower cordial that Lucan had was superb and the cakes, everyone agreed, were some of the best they had eaten in a long time. It was interesting being in a place that you have seen so much on TV, almost other worldly.

Next we moved through to a different area. This had more of a farmers market feel and had some super local producers showing their wares. We had a great chat to the man running the Thomas Etty stall and came away with 4 types of chilli seeds and some round prickly cucumber seeds. We look forward to getting these in the greenhouse when we get back home. We also had a good chat to the Cornish Salt stall holder and bought some jam and chutney from From Dorset with Love.

After this Lucan and the twins went to the poly tunnel to plant courgette seeds which they are going to all grow and see whose grows best. I suspect that given the terrible weather we have been having in the South East that the South West courgettes have a better chance of fruiting!

We moved through to another area where there was a band playing some folksy music, which was perfectly suited to the event and atmosphere, and was thoroughly enjoyable. The best bit about this new area however was that it was the centre for all the food stalls and the choice was superb! In the end we opted for sausages in rolls for James and Lucan and I had a jacket potato with River Cottage beef chilli. While the food was fairly expensive it is safe to say that the first bite made it all worth while. We sat on the grass bank and watched the falconry display while we ate our lunch and drank our River Cottage beers. While the sun was out there really was no-where else we could have wanted to be. This said when the sun went in the hats and gloves went back on pretty quickly and we decided it was time for a last walk around before we headed off. It was at this point that we saw the man himself. Hugh did a surprise book signing near to where we have lunch but the line to meet him was getting a little ridiculous.

Even though, for the most part, it was pretty cold out for our visit we all came away saying how amazing River Cottage is. It is also nice to see that the farm seems fairly humble, even with it’s rather famous owner. There was nothing presumptuous about anything we saw and the people who were there really wanted to share their local produce and show their trades.

Our trip has been quite inspirational in many ways from ideas to take back for the garden, to things we can grow and things we can upcycle. I am very grateful to River Cottage for inviting us and congratulate them on a fantastic Spring Fair.

– Emily


  1. Charlotte says

    Well jealous you been to River Cottage.

  2. I would love to go. I miss Devon. East Anglia is very flat in comparison.

  3. Andy Tomes says

    We’ve been using Cornish Salt since last year, and the flavoured ones are great for adding subtle flavour to dishes. Great and fast delivery from their online shop too. Welcome to Devon guys, a little piece of English heaven 🙂

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