River Cottage is a brand used for a number of ventures by television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. These include a long running Channel 4 television series, cookery courses, events, restaurants and products such as beer and yogurt.
The first TV series was Escape to River Cottage and was shown on Channel 4. In this show Hugh left London to pursue an ambition of self-sufficiency - growing his own vegetables and raising his own animals at a gamekeeper's cottage near Netherbury in Dorset. The series had six episodes and first aired in March and April 1999. It was followed by Return to River Cottage in 2000. and River Cottage Forever in 2002, in which viewers followed Hugh's further adventures as a downsized smallholder.
In 2004 the River Cottage brand left the original holiday home to follow Hugh's progress as he set up a new business from old dairy buildings near Broadoak, Bridport, Dorset in the series Beyond River Cottage. An additional series, The View from River Cottage, was a combination clip show and retrospective of the previous series.
In 2006, moved to the Park Farm location near to Uplyme in Devon. Here at the new River Cottage H.Q., the team would film the 2006 series The River Cottage Treatment where Hugh would attempt to convert junk food lovers' eating habits.
In 2008, Channel 4 began broadcasting River Cottage Spring, later followed up by River Cottage Autumn, which shows Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall using home-grown produce in recipes. The series also tracks a group of families in Bristol who attempt to convert a large bramble patch into a small-holding, now known as Bramble Farm, growing vegetables, and rearing meat. A four episode series River Cottage: Summer's Here began airing in June 2009.
In July 2012, a new three-part series began on Channel 4, titled River Cottage: Three Go Mad. Hugh was joined at Park Farm by three celebrities who wished to increase their knowledge on where their food comes from and how it gets from farm/sea to plate.
River Cottage Australia is an Australian adaptation of the series. It sees former chef Paul West showcase local produce and farming while attempting to live in a self-sufficient manner. The series premiered in 2013 on The LifeStyle Channel and ran for two seasons before moving to The LifeStyle Channel's sister network LifeStyle Food in 2015.
|DVD Name||Released||Audio||Aspect Ratio||Duration||Number of Episodes||Num of Discs|
|Escape To River Cottage||08/09/2003||Dolby Digital 2.0||4:3 Full Frame||2 hours 48 minutes||6||2|
|Return To River Cottage||19/04/2004||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||2 hours 28 minutes||6||2|
|River Cottage Forever||11/10/2004||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||3 hours 42 minutes||8||2|
|Beyond River Cottage||17/10/2005||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||4 hours 40 minutes||10||3|
|River Cottage Road Trip||02/10/2006||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||2 hours 5 minutes||2||1|
|River Cottage: Gone Fishing!||03/12/2007||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||2 hours 22 minutes||3||1|
|River Cottage: Spring||27/10/2008||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||3 hours 7 minutes||4||1|
|River Cottage: Autumn||12/10/2009||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||3 hours 11 minutes||4||1|
|River Cottage: Summer's Here||01/08/2011||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||3 hours 5 minutes||4||1|
|River Cottage: Winter's on the Way||17/10/2011||Dolby Digital 2.0||16:9 Anamorphic||3 hours 12 minutes||4||1|
These DVDs are distributed by Channel 4 DVD.
A number of books have been produced to tie in with the series including:
The original River Cottage was a former weekend and holiday home, previously a gamekeeper's lodge in the grounds of Slape Manor, Netherbury, Dorset. This was used as the location for series 1-3 of the TV show.
The original River Cottage HQ (RCHQ) was near Broadoak, Bridport in Dorset and was home to the fourth TV series, Beyond River Cottage, which was based around the new project to develop the rural education centre in some old dairy buildings.
The RCHQ ran courses and activities celebrating and teaching the skills and values that Whittingstall learned in his five years as a Dorset smallholder. It focused in particular upon cooking in tune with the seasons, small scale local food production, and adding value to home grown produce for taking to local markets. The courses and events were hosted by different members of the River Cottage team, including some from the television series including Ray Smith (a freelance butcher) and Michael Michaud an organic polytunnel expert.
In September 2006 River Cottage HQ moved to a new, larger, location.
In 2006, the show moved to a new location, also called River Cottage HQ, near the village of Musbury in East Devon. Cradled in the Axe Valley on the Devon/Dorset border, the second River Cottage HQ (known as Park Farm) is a 17th-century farmhouse, converted barns and 66 acres (270,000 m2) of land.
River Cottage HQ provides dining experiences, cookery courses as well as courses on a wide variety of topics including bee-keeping, brewing, breadmaking, cheese-making, curing meat and foraging.
The River Cottage team has opened The River Cottage Canteen and Deli, a local produce shop and informal restaurant in Trinity Square, Axminster, in a building that formerly housed the town's ballroom. In November 2011, a second Canteen and Deli was opened in Plymouth, in the historic Royal William Yard and a third canteen was opened in Bristol in March 2013. A fourth canteen opened in Winchester, in September 2014.