Raithwaite Sandsend creates UK’s first hotel forest garden

Sometimes the best ideas come about over a drink. In this instance, the drink was a delicious Sapling Martini made with our house vodka, by Sapling Spirits, which plants one tree for every bottle sold. The idea? To collaborate with Sapling and plant those trees right here, on the Raithwaite Sandsend estate.

So Ollie Hunter, the Food, Drink and Sustainability Director at Raithwaite Sandsend, and Ed Faulkner, co-founder of Sapling Spirits, decided to go one further and plant the UK’s first hotel forest garden on a disused meadow opposite our lake. They rallied together a team of volunteers on a wind-swept Thursday to help create this wonderful new addition to the Yorkshire countryside.

Getting their hands (and knees and just about everything else) dirty, the team set to work, digging and planting 500 trees and shrubs, including large canopies, fruit trees, berry bushes and nitrogen-fixing plants to enrich the soil.

“The idea of a forest garden is that it’s completely self-sustaining, while encouraging biodiversity,” explained Ed Faulkner, whose company only sources wheat from regenerative farms in the UK. The team broke for hot Bullshot cocktails (made with Sapling vodka, of course), compared planting notes, and finished the day with a celebratory tasting menu created by Raithwaite’s talented chef, Ryan Osborne.

“The idea of a forest garden is that it’s completely self-sustaining, while encouraging biodiversity,”

But the story doesn’t end there: next spring, another 500 trees will be planted to complete the forest garden, and within a couple of years the fruits and herbs will be ready for the kitchen and bar staff to source – perfect for a freshly-mixed cocktail to be enjoyed in our Bar 1822.

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