Saturday, August 15, 2015

Baggins me a room in Liverton holiday haven.

Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit can now experience a bit of the hobbit’s homeland, The Shire by visiting the North York Moors. 


Golden Hill Farm near Liverton in the North York Moors National Park has just completed a new underground holiday cottage that has been inspired by the stories written by English author JRR Tolkien.  


Owners Carol Hopkinson and Karl Wragg – with the help of £15,000 of tourism-related funding from the North York Moors National Park Authority and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council* plus a start-up loan from Teesside charity Five Lamps – have stuck closely to Tolkien’s description of the underground hobbit holes which became instantly recognisable following the release of the films. 


The result, Potts Corner, would have done Bilbo Baggins proud with its green round porthole-like door, stained glass windows and grass roof. 


As befits the residence of one of the most respected hobbits, Potts Corner, which sleeps six, doesn’t skimp on any of the comforts either, offering a cosy retreat with cooking facilities, lounge including log burner, roll-top free-standing bath and luxury organic wool mattresses made by Leeds firm Harrison Spinks. 


The couple, who are already employing four apprentice hobbits to help run the growing business, now plan to continue the transformation of their campsite into North Shire by recreating the fabled Hobbiton setting, a first on UK soil. 


Already plans are afoot to start work on a further couple of hobbit holes this year adding to the longer term vision of having seven hobbit residences and a replica of the Green Dragon inn within a wildflower haven.


Potts Corner holiday home is available to rent for £650 for three nights or £850 for seven nights for up to six people.  


Carol explains: “We are delighted to be opening our first hobbit hole and our thanks go to the members of our family and the various organisations that have helped provide financial support along the way. This has given us the confidence to press on with our plans to create a magical setting for families where they can get back to nature and have fun, and which encourages children to start reading fairy tales and adventure books. 


“Importantly, we’re also planning to expand our Apprentice Academy, giving young people opportunities to train in the tourism, horticulture, business and catering sectors. 


“It’s also great to think that we’re helping re-connect the whole Lord of the Rings legacy with Britain, in-line with JRR Tolkien’s English roots.” 


Councillor Carl Quartermain, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills, and Leisure at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “The council is delighted that the Coastal Communities Fund can be put to good use in such a unique way. It really is the spirit in which it is intended.


“These Hobbit Houses must be the only examples in the North East, if not the country, and they will be a great place to spend a weekend away in The (North York)Shire. 


“I also look forward to seeing the Apprentice Academy really take off, the council is committed to seeing young people in work or training, and Carol’s plans sound like they will be a great addition to the area.”


For information and booking Potts Corner please look on


Monday, August 03, 2015

Taste Buds Tickled at Saltburn Food Festival

Thousands turned out to sample a wide variety of tasty delights at this year’s 3rd annual Saltburn Food Festival.

The town was packed out with visitors who were able to enjoy the tastes and smells from more than 70 local traders, as well as experience a variety of cookery lessons and displays on Sunday.

Event organiser Lorna Jackson, who runs family business Real Meals in the town, was delighted the festival keeps going from strength to strength three years after its launch. "What an amazing day,” she said.

"It is very humbling to see the people flock to the festival today. There is a real sense of community surrounding the festival and we are really humbled at the support and encouragement we receive from the people of the town who get behind it.

“This really shows the town at its best and I’m incredibly proud to both live and work here.”

Visitors were able to take advantage of a distinctive vintage bus for the festival’s park and ride scheme to ensure as many people as possible could enjoy the day.

Special guests, including TV chef Peter Sidwell, Richard Ingram, Gilly Robinson and BBC Tees foodie expert Catherine Hill, were cooking up a treat at a live outdoor cookery theatre.

TV chef Peter Sidwell said: “It’s my first visit to Saltburn and an amazing town it is. The festival is just incredible and the place has been absolutely buzzing all day long.”

Richard Ingram, a chef and lecturer at Middlesbrough College, said: “Last year was just incredible and today has just been amazing yet again. The crowds have been a great support all day long, and it has just been a great joy for me and the team from the college to have been part of an amazing day.”

The free festival also included a vibrant street market with around seventy of the best independent food producers from the North East and North Yorkshire, a children’s kitchen academy, live music, world street food, outdoor dining and picnic areas.

Saltburn-born food writer Catherine Hill said: “What an absolutely fantastic day, wonderfully overwhelming, not just fantastic. It is incredible to have a festival like this on our doorstep – it was absolutely wonderful all day long.”