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Best restaurants for sustainability: Battlesteads, Northumberland

From cultivating the gardens to attract wildlife and forming strong links with local supplies to installing a carbon-neutral heating system, Battlesteads in Northumberland ties sustainability together with fantastic food.

‘We weren’t necessarily tree-huggers when we came here,’ concedes Battlesteads’ owner, Richard Slade, ‘but we quickly realised that if we wanted to create something unique, we had to work with nature and the environment.’

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For the past 10 years, the Slades (Richard and Dee) have done precisely that. They have created a beautiful inn by embracing the benefits of going green. In everything from cultivating the gardens to attract new bird life; forging links with local suppliers; or installing a carbon-neutral heating system. This engagement with Northumberland goes beyond infrastructure, too. Battlesteads provides meals for the village school; serves a three-course OAPs lunch on Mondays, for £5.50; and hosts an annual charitable beer festival. Rural businesses, says Richard: ‘have to be involved in the community.’

From the slick detail in Battlesteads’ eco lodges, to its growing collection of hip artisan gins, all of this has been achieved without any sacrifice of comfort. ‘Customers don’t want hair shirt and cold showers, they want luxury. But you can achieve that without damaging the environment,’ insists Richard. In the restaurant, chef Eddie Shilton uses the best ingredients from regional stars such as Carroll’s heritage potatoes and Bywell smokery, and produce (courgette flowers, globe artichokes) grown on-site by the Slades’ daughter, gardener Kate Norris.

In October, alongside regular crowd-pleasers such as its MSC-certified hake and chips, Battlesteads’ seasonal menu will be focusing on game in, for instance, a forest casserole served with an Admiral Collingwood cheese crouton or braised venison rump with parmesan mash, parsnip crisps and roast beets. Utilising the venison culled in Kielder Forest is an obligation, says Richard: ‘It’s such a waste if it isn’t used properly.’ Seasonal evening menu from £23.50; rooms from £115. battlesteads.com

Battlesteads scores top marks from Food Made Good (foodmadegood.org). 


How to be green in the kitchen 

‘The amount of waste created by buying perfectly shaped supermarket veg is phenomenal. Go for cheaper ugly
vegetables from local grocers.’


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