The Wilsons “Pannage” Pigs…

Pannage is the practice of releasing Domestic Pigs to eat wild, fallen acorns.  This is an historic event, which was a right or a privilage for local people to let their pigs feed on the common.  Customarily a pig was given to the Lord of the manor depending on the number of pigs loosed de herbagio, as the right of pannage was entered.

Pannage is still done today, in the New Forest, where the pigs are released for 60 days to eat the fallen acorns, which could be harmful to ponies and cattle that also graze on the land.  The duration of the “pannage” is decided each year, by the court of Verderers, and varies from season to season.  Prior to the pigs been released they have nose rings fitted to prevent them from creating too much damage and rooting in the grounds.

The practice of “pannage” is ancient and has been practised in Spain (as here) for centuries, where they are known for creating the worlds’ finest Ham.  The Jamon iberico de bellota are Black Iberico pigs (the original swine of Spain) which immediately after weaning, the piglets are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks. They are then allowed to roam in pasture and oak groves to feed naturally on grass, herbs, acorns, and roots. At the time of slaughter, the diet may be limited to olives or acorns for the best quality jamón ibérico.  The hams will then go through a very long curing process, from 12 – 48 months to produce a prized ham with a smooth texture and rich and savoury taste.  This ham sells for an average of £42/kg.

So bearing all of the above in mind….. We have let our saddleback pigs out into the woodlands for the last month or two and now, as Autumn is here and the acorns are falling, our Annie and her not-so-little-piglets are having a feast!  While we are not going down the road of curing and producing a fine ham, we are going to be preparing our pigs for a Hog Roast (or two).

We have a stand at the Ulverston Dickensian weekend at the end of November, where we aim to serve our Pigs, which will be slow roasted, and served with hot slices in a large soft roll, with spoonful’s of homemade stuffing, lashings of apple sauce and crackling!  Its guaranteed to warm you up – a must for hungry shoppers and passers’ by.

The Wilsons Saddlebacks

The Wilsons has been busy gearing up for the Summer holidays!   We have a lot of new benches and umbrellas (for those hot summer days to come) and the back field has been mowed, the Lamb pens are built and we have also built a couple of Pig Arks, for Annie and her piglets.

Annie is a Saddleback pig.  The saddlebacks which came about when Lord Western was travelling in Italy and decided that the Neapolitan pigs would be ideal  to improve the breed of Essex pigs.  He crossed the Neapolitan with the Essex Sows to create the Neapolitan-Essex.  Overtime one of his tenants, used the Neapolitan-Essex boars, belonging to Lord Western, and crossed them with his coarse Essex sows and therefore established the Improved Essex.  The Essex pig originally had a black head and neck, as well as a clearly defined belt of white  over the shoulders and continuing over the forelegs. The rest of the body was black with the tip of the tail and feet being white.

The Essex pig was then crossed with the Wessex (a cross between two indigenous old English bacon pigs which was black all over, with a continuous belt of white hair over the forelegs and shoulder),    to  “make a feature of the chief colouration marking?…”.  So the respective breed societies amalgamated in 1918, in 1967 the British Saddleback breed was established.

British Saddlebacks are hardy breed and are noted for their mothering ability. The breed is known for its grazing ability and has secured a place in organic production.

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News and Reviews of The Wilsons

We are looking forward to a busy weekend ahead of us with the Coniston 14 (a local run organised by a small committee from the Village).  The Coniston 14 Road Race was established in 1982 and is organised each year by a small, enthusiastic committee supported by approx 100 local volunteers on the day.  Over £20,000 is raised each year and donated to several charities in the area.  Lets hope the snow keeps away for the Runners.  We wish them all the best and Good Luck!

We have also had some fantastic reviews on Trip Advisor lately, so we thought  we would put them here to share with all our readers.  Well done to the Team who work so hard and make all our guests and visitors so welcome with good food.
Reviewed 17 March 2013 NEW

Just spent 2 nights there , it was better than we expected, good log fire to sit up to, the best of staff, excellent home grown food & good menu, very clean all round & modern bedrooms fully heated, the owner, Fran could not have been more helpful, we will go there again in the near future.

“Bargain Break !!”

5 of 5 starsReviewed 13 March 2013
Stayed at the Wilsons Arms for a two night mid-week break, 11/12 March 2013. All staff were very friendly from our arrival right through to our departure, and nothing was too much trouble (even our dog was made to feel welcome). Recently refurbished room was very clean and modern. The 3 course meal that came with the deal on the first night was extremely good, with really generous portions (so generous, that neither of us managed a pudding, so settled for coffee instead!). Although currently going through a refurbishment, there was no disruption to our visit whatsoever. We are intrigued to see the end result of the red phone box ‘fish tank’, and the glass covered ‘well’ that the builders were working on while we were there (hopefully Fran can get the pictures onto the website when they are finished, so that we can see the end result?).

Please pass on our thanks to the team for making our stay so enjoyable

 

 

Value for money.

Having visited Lake Coniston on a beautiful day, my wife and I decided to stay in this area for our lunch rather than go back to our caravan in Flookburgh. We chanced upon The Wilsons and were very glad we did. As soon as we walked in we were welcomed by Kathy a most charming young lady, she gave us our requested drinks and then our menus and told us that the only thing that was not available was the chilli with jacket potatoes, which did not bother us. My wife settled for the Haddock, mushy peas and chips while I went for the Gammon,egg and chips.After about 15-20 mins of taking our order our meals were served, the portion size was a shock, they were huge, then she bought the chips, none of your six chips each rubbish, it was a huge bowl of fresh,real chips.The whole eating experience was wonderful, the only downfall was we were too full to try the amazing looking chocolate cake that was on the bar. I would certainly recommend this eatery to anybody and if we ever holiday in this area would make a return visit to The Wilson Arms. I defy anybody to find fault with this place. Thank you all at The Wilsons.

The Wilsons, Torver. Wine Tasting Evening.

Come & enjoy an relaxed wine tasting evening at The Wilsons, Torver.

Come along on Thursday 8th March to taste & learn about wines with local expert Paul Quinn.

The Wilsons, Torver. Wine Tasting Night

£10 per ticket & your night includes wine tasting, canapés, quiz & raffle. With excellent  prizes on offer!

Proceeds from the raffle & a donation go to St Marys Hospice.

To inquire about the night or purchase your ticket please contact us on – 015394 41237.

We look forward to seeing you there.