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This second season of the series follows Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's decision to leave the city for country life, focusing on his second year at River Cottage, Dorset. Hugh is now making strides toward turning his country property into a self-sufficient home farm, as he begins to use food he has grown in his own garden to prepare his meals, and begins exploring more of the local customs and traditions as he expands his circle of acquaintances among the residents of Dorset.

TVF International
1 Season, 6 Episodes
January 1, 2002
Nature, Documentary & Biography
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Return to River Cottage Full Episode Guide

  • Local woodsman Nigel Dowding and his daughter Sharon come round to help him clear the hedge behind the cottage. Their efforts are rather more radical than Hugh had in mind, but the resulting crew -cut at least generates a healthy pile of logs. In return for a dozen bales of hay, Hugh agrees to be the quarry for the hunters of the West Country Bloodhounds. Despite his best efforts at deception, Hugh is pursued over the rolling hills and finally caught by the pack of slavering hounds.

  • Torrential rain washes out Hugh's entire hay harvest and his polytunnel full of tomatoes is beset with blight. Radical plant-surgery saves the tomatoes but the hay is lost. Hugh is entering Joanna, one of his sheep, in the Melplash Agricultural Show and local expert Jo Forsey comes over to give it a shampoo and set before helping him trim it into shape. There's still a week of combing and primping ahead before the day of judgement. At least the wet weather has brought out the wild mushrooms and Hugh gangs up with expert foragers Nick and Paddy to exploit the situation. Armed with a shopping list, they visit several different woods with the aim of collecting a completely free meal - picking up pigeons, fungi, blackberries and crab-apples on the way. However they spot an amazing circle of giant puffballs and take one back for a meal. That night, Hugh bakes the puffball stuffed with pigeon breast, wild garlic and other mushrooms. While there's more than enough food, they run out of wine and head off to the pub where local band Bad Acid are holding an open mic session. Hugh rashly takes to the stage to give his unique rendition of The Who classic "Baba O'Reilly." Next morning, Hugh collects the crayfish from his traps in the river. He then prepares a classic crayfish cocktail for Jo who's coming round for dinner.

  • Hugh sets off to sets off to buy some livestock: a Dexter cow and calf, a flock of Dorset Down sheep, three pigs and a handful of chickens. Before they've had a chance to settle in, Hugh's off to the annual nettle-eating competition at his local pub the Bottle Inn. After being roped in to take a place on the Bottle's team, he cooks up nettle gnocchi for the victors. Next morning, local carpenter Angus Carmichael comes over to help make Hugh's chickens truly free-range by building them a high-rise fox-proof coop. While they struggle to make the climb, Hugh takes off to Lyme Regis to go scallop hunting with local divers Paul Crosby and Doug Chalk who use scallops to barter in the local economy. The dive only produces enough for personal consumption but Hugh gives them a Mexican twist with scallop tortillas that he cooks up on the beach for Paul and Doug's friends.

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