Welcome to our series of foodie based blogs from Hang my Hat, to help you to make the most of those morsels to be found near to your Hang my Hat cottage, tipi or barn.
If you are staying at one of our Hang my Hat cottages near Stocksfield, such as luxurious Lowrigg, or cosy Madera Cottage in Hedley on the Hill, you will first see the open fields around Hedley and the private woodland behind Lowrigg. Lowrigg has the most magical setting for a family, with its gardens to roam in, conservatory to play in (or enjoy a glass of wine) and long outdoor terrace. Kids can go hunting for mini-beasts and forest fairies in their very own private wooded area! There are scenic walks right from the front door, including Broomley Woods where you can look out for wood ant heaps, green woodpeckers and owls, and riverside walks along the Tyne.
The noise of the bleating sheep in Hedley is louder than the sound of the traffic – tractors apart. Madera Cottage is almost Beatrix Potter-like, with its Aga in the kitchen and cosy beams. But once you’ve absorbed the great natural beauty of the area and the cottage – a person’s got to eat!
Step out of Madera Cottage in Hedley and stroll down the path to the village. Look right and you will see one of the UK’s leading gastropubs - The Feathers Inn. Yes, that’s it – the one with the posts by the picnic benches, so that you tie up your horsie and go for a little me time at the bar. Even Jamie’s been there, saying ‘If you eat at only one place in Northumberland, make it here.’ Follow his advice to relish homemade charcuterie, creamy puddings, northern cheeses and seafood - and very local meat, such as pork bought from Farmer Fail’s pigs over the road. Check out their food awards here.
But there’s more to the Feathers than food and fabulous craft beers and wine. Think foraging, farmers’ markets, and… an Easter time Barrel race that involves a cross country yomp up a hill with a barrel of beer on your back.
If it’s family food than you’re after, you have a longer walk from Lowrigg or Madera of a couple of miles, or a very short ride in your car, to Wheelbirks Ice Cream Parlour. Most of Wheelbirks is a child’s paradise, with its delicious ice creams from the Jersey cows you can see all around you; sweet and savoury snacks; apple laden orchard with tyre swing and playground; hens and horses to entertain and cosy play area for little ones. Mum and Dad can also enjoy the adjoining art gallery, crafts on sale inside the parlour, and one adult only area if it’s time for a bit of peace.