Battlesteads Hotel and observatory in Northumberland

Welcome to Battlesteads Hotel

Battlesteads Hotel in the picturesque village of Wark is officially Northumberland’s ‘greenest’ hotel. It has a raft of Eco friendly credentials, a fantastic restaurant and is next door to a very special Dark Sky observatory which holds events and talks, giving visitors the opportunity to look through a powerful telescope and learn about the mysteries of our night sky..

Take a walk into Wark
Some accommodation is in the original old stone building of the hotel and the rest is in spacious eco lodges in the grounds. Friendly staff provide a warm welcome whether you are arriving just for a drink in the Pub, dining in the restaurant or staying in the hotel. There is a great choice of ales beers and wines, (the wifi code is ‘minesapint’ ) and the restaurant prides itself on serving locally sourced produce, with home grown fruit and vegetables from the Battlesteads gardens.

The luxurious Eco lodges have huge rooms with velux windows looking to the sky, state of the art bathrooms and enormous comfortable beds as well as all the usual mod cons- flat screen TV, hairdryer tea, coffee, water, fruit and rather scrumptious home baked biscuits.

Luxury eco lodges

Sustainability is important here. The heating and hot water are carbon neutral – an innovative wood chip-burning biomass boiler supplies heating and hot water to the entire hotel using sustainable fuel from forestry only one mile away, meaning virtually zero fuel miles!

Super comfy beds

The surplus heat generated is used to heat two poly tunnels, which provide herbs and salad vegetables even in winter months to the hotel restaurant. The use of low-energy light bulbs throughout means that the whole hotel now uses less energy for lighting than the bar area alone did in 2006, astonishing!

Even the toiletries are locally sourced and organic, and the geranium shampoo and orange blossom shower gel, small rather good too. Toilet roll inners are used for potting seedlings and the on site wormeries munch through kilos of food waste turning it into compost. Rainwater is captured in a huge tank to provide water for the entire garden and planters.

Take the weight off your Dahlias!

Battlesteads hotel is the greenest hotel in Northumberland and holds a Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme. The hospitality industry is of course a huge consumer of energy and resources and Battlesteads are happy to offer help and advice to others on how to incorporate sustainability into businesses.

Northumberland is one of the least spoiled parts of the whole country as far as traffic impact, light pollution and urban sprawl go and has been designated as a ‘Dark Sky’ area. This means light pollution here is very low and makes it an ideal location for the Wark Dark Sky Discovery Site and the Battlesteads Dark Sky Observatory. This is a public astronomical observatory offering talks, activities, drop in sessions, stargazing and Astro courses to suit anyone from the absolute beginner to the professional.
Battlesteads observatory

The observatory offers the chance to view the  beautiful majesty of dark skies with the all facilties of the hotel, pub and restaurant just next door. Roy Alexander is one of the astronomers who run the astronomy sessions. He was an absolutely excellent, funny engaging and infinitely informative host. Where else would you find someone who can answer the question ‘How do you know the universe is 13.8 billion light years old?’  The huge telescope can magnify all the stars and constellations of our Northern hemisphere and you can see for yourself the wonders of the universe close up. As he says, its not a pub with an observatory next door, it’s an observatory with a bar!

Galaxy or Milky Way?

As well as stars, there’s plenty of wildlife in these parts including lots of different species birds, we saw a heron fishing in the river and swallows swooping down to catch the insects on the water’s surface.

Badgers, foxes, herons and red squirrels (Battlesteads is a member of the ‘Save Our Squirrels’ scheme) are frequently reported and apparently a family of otters can be seen in the early morning on the river next to the bridge.

 

A meal in the charming Battlesteads restaurant or conservatory is quite a treat. Head Chef Eddie Shilton sources prime local ingredients to ensure freshness and flavour. Rural Northumberland has some of the finest livestock, game, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables in the Country.

Best of British Beetroot

The cooking style is primarily modern British and I had the five course taster menu which featured a mouthwatering wild mushroom soup, a delicate beetroot dish (I love beetroot) tuna carpaccio, lamb two ways and a to die for chocolate ganache dessert with cherries which happened to look rather like the Angel of the North!

Angel of the North delicious dessert!

I am something of a jam aficionado, and I have never seen such a fantastic selection of exquisite homemade jams as they have at Battlesteads for breakfast. I tasted as many of them as I dare without going into a diabetic coma. Rose and strawberry, apricot almond and apple, Seville marmalade, lemon and lavender, rhubarb and ginger, white currant jelly… I was in jam heaven.

Jam today

I loved the eco hotel, with its cosy quirky decor and was particularly impressed by the East Coast railway prints on the dining room wall, as I love these and collect them myself. The room was satisfyingly spacious and the corner jacuzzi bath a bit of fun. The food was delicious and having the Dark Sky observatory next door as an optional activity, just makes this an extra special experience. To book the hotel or events at the observatory contact www.Battlesteads.com

Lovely lavender