British Food Fortnight

Discover the flavour of the South Downs with British Food Fortnight, running from 17 September – 2 October. British Food Fortnight is the annual, national celebration of British food and drink.

We believe that the South Downs National Park should be recognized for high-quality, sustainable food as well as its natural beauty. This is just some of the speciality produce the South Downs provides.

Hampshire watercress

River Itchen by 2020 Vision/Linda Pitkin
River Itchen by 2020 Vision/Linda Pitkin

The banks of the Meon and Itchen rivers in Hampshire are the UK’s home of watercress. Watercress has a distinctive peppery, mustard-like flavour and grows in mineral rich spring water.

The Watercress Line is a heritage railway line in Hampshire that was historically used for transporting locally grown watercress to markets in London. The line is open throughout the year and offers real ale and dining trains, as well as educational visits.

Apples

West Dean by Vicki Isted
West Dean by Vicki Isted

South Downs orchards have the perfect conditions for apples to grow and thrive. Autumn is time to celebrate the fruit harvest with lots of events; there’s Apple Affair at West Dean, Slindon’s Apple Day autumnal fete and Blackmoor’s Apple Tasting to name a few.

Grapes

vineyardThe many vineyards hidden across the South Downs owe their success and inspiration to the chalky soils and fine climate which is similar to the Champagne region in France.

There have been grapes growing in the area since Roman times, helping to shape the landscape we take pleasure in today. Our warmer, later summers are ideal for ripening the grapes used in making sparkling wine, while cool breezes coming in from the sea add needed acidity to the flavour.

Dairyicecream

Delicious ice cream and cheese is made from the milk of cows that graze the South Downs. Caroline’s Dairy in West Sussex comes with a warning that their ice cream exploits human weakness! While over in Pulborough, Charlie’s Farm Shop has its own dairy and lots of mouth watering local produce.

Slindon pumpkins

pumpkindisplay
Pumpkin display 2014 by Robin Upton

Autumn puts Slindon on the map with the bizarre colourful pumpkin festival, complete with artistic displays and just about every kind of pumpkin, gourds or squash for sale.

 

 

Sussex Cattlesussexcow

Sussex Cattle are an ancient breed and it’s believed they descended from the red cattle that inhabited the Weald at the time of the Norman Conquest. The beef is said to have a fine texture with a traditional flavour that is much in demand.

Get inspired and use our Food Finder to find delicious local produce. For inspiration on yummy places to eat in the South Downs check out our Delicious Days Out.