The River Cottage Headquarters comprises five buildings, including a renovated 17th century Cobb farmhouse and an 18th century chert-threshing barn, but the most eye-catching is the new-build River Cottage Cookery School. Clad in black corrugated metal, the single-story gabled building is faced with full-height glazing on its southwest facade for panoramic views over Axe Valley. Its contemporary design marries local materials and labor with energy-efficient building practices.
While the other buildings have been converted into a sustainable inn or event spaces, the River Cottage Cookery School offers demonstration classes and promotes sustainable farming and cooking under the direction of chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The interior is mostly lined with larch, while exposed Douglas fir columns and trusses gives the space a rustic feel. Pendant lights hang from the ceiling overtop the workspaces made from wooden islands with stainless steel surfaces.
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All of the electricity is produced on-site from a wind turbine and solar panels. A biomass boiler fired with local wood off-cuts provides all the heat, while rainwater is harvested and reused for irrigation and toilet flushing.
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