The UK’s first hotel forest garden takes roots in North Yorkshire

Raithwaite Sandsend Hotel, in partnership with Sapling Spirits, has created the UK’s very first hotel Forest Garden in North Yorkshire – to sustainably feed the hotel’s kitchen year-round.

Over 500 trees and shrubs have been planted in the grounds in the hotel’s 100-acre estate – located between the sea and the moors – to create a beautiful and biodiverse edible landscape for the hotel’s chefs and mixologists to pick from. 

Sapling, who plant a tree for each bottle of their vodka sold, and the hotel team came together, in a natural meeting of minds and a shared passion for sustainability – to bring to life the exciting new permaculture project, which is the first of its kind in the UK.

The Forest Garden is an agronomic system, designed to mimic a natural forest, using a layering of tall trees to form the canopy and sub-canopy, right down to bushes, shrubs, and herbs on the ground level – together forming a stable and sustainable ecosystem.

The combination of hardy plants require minimal human interference, are biologically sustainable and suited to the UK climate – and yield a variety of produce across all seasons. A second planting in the Spring will see a further 500 trees planted to complete Raithwaite’s Forest Garden – ahead of the first harvest as soon as next year.

Ollie Hunter, food, drink & sustainability director says: “By introducing the UK’s first hotel Forest Garden we’ll be able to provide our kitchen and bar with delicious, fresh, perennial fruits, herbs and spices to be used in our menus and cocktails.”

“It’s a hugely exciting step in our own sustainability story, which complements our guest experience and opens conversation around sustainability, to educate about how we can all play our part to make a real difference.”

“While this partnership is the first of its kind, hopefully we can use it as a blueprint to plant forest gardens and work on other permaculture projects with our customers all over the country. The idea is to use our tree planting to encourage sustainable, hyper localised food production”, explained Ed Faulkner, whose company Sapling Spirits, only sources wheat from regenerative farms in the UK.

The hotel team is also set to develop new gardens, in the hotel’s grounds, to include 16 organic no-dig beds, a compost site and 2 polytunnels – to grow fresh, organic fruit and vegetables such as Jerusalem artichokes, broad beans, carrots, leads, wild herbs, Asian salads, strawberries, gooseberries, and rhubarb, amongst others – and are striving to achieve zero waste status by 2023.

Raithwaite Sandsend was recently named the UK’s most sustainable hotel at the annual industry awards, The Cateys – which was a tremendous milestone in their sustainability journey, to ensure its at the heart of the hotel.

Maritime Capital, who acquired Raithwaite in 2019, has significantly invested in the sustainable development of the hotel. And the introduction of the Forest Garden is a landmark occasion, ensuring the hotel’s sustainability projects continue to grow and flourish.

To learn more about the UK’s first hotel forest garden please see here – or to find out more about Raithwaite Sandsend and follow the sustainability journey why not read our story?

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