Forest Side is all about a passion for food. Fresh produce is the underpinning of all that Chef Kevin Tickle and his team create in the kitchen.
Working with Garden Designer Frances Truscott and our own team of gardeners, Kevin has sought to add another dimension to your culinary journey with us. The new planting scheme conceived by Frances, brings many special elements to the garden, it fuses traditional planting with a more contemporary style.
The new garden areas feature edible herbs, wild flowers, scented climbers, shrubs, traditional yew hedging and fruit trees to name a few. To that end, we have spent 18 months bringing a once derelict kitchen garden back to life – a garden which previously won awards for its produce.
Unloved for over 70 years this now verdant one-acre vegetable and herb garden make our grounds an experience in their own right. (In September 1858 the Westmorland Gazette reported on the ‘great success in rearing wall fruit’ achieved by the Forest Side gardener, Mr. Roberts).
Planted with over 100 varieties of vegetable and 25 types of herb, the kitchen garden aims to supply 60-70% of the produce needed. Everything is farmed using ethical growing techniques, with no chemical herbicides or fertilisers. All produce is picked fresh daily, with the aim of ensuring the freshest possible crops. By reducing the length of time from farm to fork this increases the nutrient content and flavour quality of the produce.
The garden also supplies the kitchen with a broad selection of micro greens, used for garnishes, a growing technique that increases the nutrient content by up to ten times. These are grown in the garden’s traditional greenhouse – a vital resource in Cumbria to supplement what is produced in the garden.
The informal gardens surrounding the main property have also been cleverly designed by Frances Truscott working with our gardeners to provide an array of provender for the table. Not only that the 43 acres of woodland surrounding the hotel also provides a rich bounty of forageable plants, shoots and stems, which Kevin and his team use to full effect in the food they create and for the bar team to use in the creation of their imaginative cocktails and mocktails.
Logs for the fires are processed on site, the restaurant and reception areas make use of floral displays made up of branches, flowers and mosses, which are gathered daily from the grounds. The most important aspect of the garden is that it’s fundamental to the running of the hotel, as it is utilised daily by the various departments within the building – this is gardening as it should be.