Battlesteads

Wark on Tyne Hexham NE48 3LS

Food with its heart on its sleeve – the Battlesteads menu is a thing of local beauty. At the eco-friendly hotel in Wark, near Hexham, all the food served is either grown on site in the gardens around the back or sourced from within 25 miles of the village. Even the wine list is picked with eco-credentials in mind, whether it's organic or fairtrade. That is pretty impressive. The Mod-Brit menu changes regularly, but game, moorland lamb, fish, smoked meats, heritage potatoes, farmhouse eggs and artisan cheeses are all mainstays. Dinner might be a choice of chicken Kiev made with wild garlic, chargrilled steak, smoked fish pie, locally caught rabbit or steamed Northumberland mussels. There's a simpler menu at lunchtime, together with lighter salads, homemade terrines, deli platters, hand-cut chips and the like. Beers at the bar are all in the same thoroughly local vein, with strangely named brews from northeastern breweries a speciality. It's a handsome place all round – originally an 18th-century farm, and keeping its rustic, country air while adding a conservatory at the back, overlooking a walled garden and patio.  Wine-tasting evenings and an annual beer festival have gained a name for themselves too. So if you're ready to do battle with the menu at Battlesteads, do yourself a favour – book ahead, it's very popular.