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A green e-bike tour of Sussex’s vineyards

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From the balcony of the eating room at Ashling Park’s winery, I can see the solar setting over the 200-year-old oak bushes, and the golden glow of the Chardonnay vines sprawled out in neat strains beneath me.

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My foremost course is being served – South Downs pigeon breast with Chichester-sourced child veg and a blackberry-red wine sauce, paired completely with the purple berry notes of Ashling Park’s glowing rose. I’m savouring my first mouthfuls when the chef comes over to inform me that all the things on the menu (and naturally in my glass) is sourced from inside a 15-mile radius of the place I’m sitting – besides the vanilla for the panna cotta.

Examine that with the typical restaurant roast dinner – coming in at near 10,000 meals miles in complete – and also you’ll begin to perceive why that’s such a powerful declare.

The chef comes over to inform me that just about all the things on the menu (and in my glass) is sourced from inside a 15-mile radius

It’s a recurring theme of my idyllic weekend away in Sussex, the place I’m exploring a brand new wine route on two wheels – a delight in showcasing what’s native, and a dedication to leaving a lightweight footprint on the setting. As one of many sunniest areas of the UK – sharing the identical soil present in Champagne and elements of the Loire and Burgundy – the county has change into a British hive of vinous exercise.

Vines at Henners vineyard, Sussex


With greater than 139 vineyards throughout each the east and west stretches of the county, it’s probably the most densely vineyard-speckled wine area in Britain – and as such, calls for for oenotourism have began to soar.

With one eye on giving the client what they need, and one other on the rising demand for inexperienced journey, a neighborhood tourism board has launched an official, self-cycling route for making an attempt its greatest tipples – the Nice Sussex Means Wine Cycle Route.

Linking a number of of the vineyards collectively, vacationers can both convey their very own bikes to finish the path, or rent some from a neighborhood rental operator similar to Southern eBike Leases (whose electronically-boosted ebikes take among the pressure when you’ve had a couple of glasses). Having not owned a motorbike for the reason that Spice Women first topped the charts, I go for the better, electrically assisted model and am guided by the flint-adorned villages and murmuring wheat fields by Southern Ebikes proprietor Olly Evans.

The cycle from Ashling Park to Tinwood Property is a leisurely nine-mile skim alongside largely flat roads – however for these extra daring or with stronger thigh muscle tissue than me, Olly can personalise your tour to make it extra adventurous. That approach you may deal with the tougher peaks and troughs of the South Downs, soak up extra vineyards alongside the best way, or go the very great distance round to work up an urge for food.


It’s not simply wholesome and scrumptious, it’s additionally a sustainable solution to see this beautiful, rural county.

Sussex’s wine scene has its personal inexperienced credentials, too. WineGB – the nationwide physique for grape growers and winemakers – just lately launched an official “Sustainable Wines of Nice Britain” accreditation, and 7 of the 23 vineyards granted it up to now are in Sussex.

To obtain this stamp of approval, wineries are monitored and audited for 3 years on standards similar to minimising pesticides, enhancing web site design to scale back environmental impression, and selling biodiversity.

WineGB just lately launched a ‘Sustainable Wines of Nice Britain’ accreditation – and 7 of the 23 vineyards granted it up to now are in Sussex

One of many accredited vineyards, which can open to the general public from 27 November with a seasonal programme of occasions, excursions and eating experiences, is Henners.

“Until we work regeneratively and collectively there gained’t be an English wine scene and since we’re in some ways a brand new space for viticulture we get to enshrine that in UK wine from the beginning,” says Rebecca Apley, Henners’ industrial supervisor.

“We all know that individuals actually care concerning the setting so we hope our credentials will encourage them to return and go to us to study extra about why it’s so necessary for us to work in concord with nature.”

Lamb ‘Butcher Board’ at Goodwood’s Farmer, Butcher, Chef restaurant

(Goodwood Property)

With the set up of an electrical automobile charging park of their automobile park, Henners are placing their cash the place their mouth is, and also will provide a self-guided tour exploring the story of ecology, specializing in the works of Thomas Bewick – a pure historian and naturalist who impressed the title of their Native Grace vary.

The Sussex wineries’ strategy to sustainability is mirrored by the realm’s meals producers, lots of whom are on the forefront of the native meals revolution.

Desperate to find out about (and style!) different Sussex produce I strive Farmer, Butcher, Chef – the flagship restaurant of Goodwood Property.

At 12,000 acres the Goodwood Residence Farm, a literal stone’s throw from the restaurant, is among the largest lowland natural farms within the UK and one of many solely self-sustaining natural farms in Europe.

Learning the menu I see one thing referred to as the “Butcher Board”, a seasonally-changing sharing platter that makes use of underused or often-discarded cuts of meat similar to shin, triceps and neck, for minimal waste.

“Our menu is uniquely designed the place we are able to management each facet of our produce,” says Andrew Coggings, Goodwood’s entertaining and hospitality managing director.

Ebikes are a straightforward solution to discover this wine area

(Southern Ebike Leases)

“Our butcher is immediately concerned in designing dishes in line with what cuts can be found relatively than the opposite approach round – an unique strategy which means nothing is wasted.”

Estimates by The Waste and Assets Motion Programme (Wrap) recommend that about 380,000 tonnes of consumable meat are thrown away annually within the UK; apart from any monetary implications, the greenhouse gasoline emissions of this waste equates to 4 million tonnes.

Goodwood’s ‘Butcher Board’, a seasonally-changing sharing platter, makes use of underused or often-discarded cuts of meat similar to shin, triceps and neck

As my meal at Goodwood demonstrates, shunning prime cuts of meat for a extra nose-to-tail strategy  isn’t simply an moral determination – it additionally offers a larger vary and depth of flavour to the dishes.

Lastly, my weekend involves an finish the best way I like to complete any meal – with a cheese board.

I take a chew of every of Goodwood Property’s do-it-yourself cheeses; a agency and barely tangy Charlton, a wealthy Molecomb Blue and a buttery smooth Levin Down.

Trying round on the partitions of the restaurant, embellished with outdated items of farming tools and nature-inspired design particulars, I realise that one factor unites all of the individuals I’ve met this weekend, from winemakers to restaurateurs – a love and respect for all the things that comes from the land right here, and a dedication to preserving it.

Journey necessities

Go to Sussex has info on the Nice Sussex Means wine route; convey your individual bike or strive Southern eBike Leases from £45 per half day. Entry and tour charges for the wineries vary from £18 to £20.

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