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.

Summer at The Wilsons

Well, it is safe to say Summer is here!  The temperatures have been soaring and we have been kept busy with visitors and guests alike.  Andrew has been keeping the bar well stocked to help quench the thirst of our weary travelers,while Kirsty and her team have been cooking up a storm, ensuring everyone gets a good plateful of Wilson’s Food and keeping the Torver Deli stocked up.

With the weather being so kind to us the back field is in more use than ever.  Annie and her piglets have settled down well and are enjoying their new home.  The Pygmy goat and her Kid (named Jack) have arrived to join Annie and the Herdwick Lambs.  The bouncy castle is up and the new tables and benches have been assembled. So we look forward to the start of the summer holidays and welcoming you all here: whether its for a plate of Wilsons food, a cold drink, or a room for the night  we will be ready and happy to see you.010

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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A New Locally Crafted Bitter Arrives In The Wilsons Cellar.

As well as our normal range of fantastic, local ales, such as Stringers (from Ulverston Brewery), this week at the Wilsons we are trying a new beer from Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery.  The Radical is a 4.2% rich, hoppy and malty Bitter – perfect with our line caught Whole Trout, oven baked and served with new potatoes and salad.

The Radical has arrived in the cellar and has begun its “settling” process, ready to be served on Wednesday. The barrels are left undisturbed for a minimum of 24 hours to let the sediment settle and to allow the perfect, clear pint to be served.

Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery Co Ltd was established February 2009 by four “local lads”.  A father and son team, who already run a local freehouse in Kirkby Lonsdale, decided to join forces with Roger and Alan, another couple of “local lads”.  All of whom share a passion for “real ale” and a keen interest in establishing a local brewery.  After many months of planning and preparation the brewery was finally installed and is situated at the Old Station Yard, Kirkby Lonsdale.

Coniston Pubs. Radical. Local Bitter.

Radical. Coniston Pubs.

 

”Fabulous food, friendly staff and great beer”

On a wet and miserable night 6th December whilst staying nearby we visited the Wilson Arms for a meal ., we were greeted by a friendly and helpful member of staff and I enjoyed a pint of locally brewed beer whilst deciding what to eat.

The menu was extensive with some excellent options to meet all tastes. I opted for the home made pie which really was homemade and very scrummy, served with fresh veg. My partner chose the steak and veg which was enormous and a fine cut of beef.

The real fire and comfy relaxed seating added to the ambiance.

Overall a fabulous meal and much much better than standard pub grub.

”Enjoyment in The Lake District.”

This was our 3rd visit to The Wilson Arms in Torver near Coniston each time the occasion gets better. The refurbishment is well underway with bedrooms tastefully upgraded and a shower that works and a reluctance to leave it. The ladies’ toilet is a highly creative construction in wood and stone and Lakeland slate and is worth a visit on its own. A roaring fire in The Lounge, splendid service, wholesome food and overall value for money all contribute to an enjoyable stay.Highly recommended with Coniston Old Man sitting nicely outside.

”Fantastic food and fantastic, friendly service”

We walked from coniston and decided to have dinner. The food was delicious and very reasonably priced. The desserts of sticky toffee pudding and hot chocolate fudge able were the best we have ever had. The atmosphere was warm and friends, children and dogs were made to feel welcome. There was a roaring log fire which was a pleasure to sit near. A love place.

Celebrate your Christmas at The Wilson’s Arms, Coniston – Taking bookings now!

*Package deals subject to availability and/or peak time exclusions & Fri/Sat supplement of £10 pppn.

”Wonderful Rooms. Fantastic Food. Excellent Service”

We had a wonderful 2 night stay at The Wilson’s Arms. The food was simply divine  from breakfast through to dinner. The newly refurbished bedrooms were stunning, with an excellent shower & lots of hot water (a must after a long walk in the beautiful surroundings) The bed was heavenly & the Egyptian cotton sheets made for a perfect night’s sleep. The bar, with it’s roaring, open, log fire was so welcoming, with a great selection of beers & wines and plenty of games for wet weather, a selection of daily newspapers, and dog friendly. All the staff we met were really friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. We will certainly be returning and are more than happy & confident to recommend a stay at The Wilson’s Arms. Pop in for a meal or snack, if passing…you will not be disappointed.

”Excellent watering hole”

Just called in on the off chance for a drink yesterday and ended up staying for a meal. Excellent food, cheery service and ambience.Very reasonable prices.Sat in front of a log fire and dozed off to some good old fashioned rock and roll.

Going home now but will be back near Coniston again next year. Will not hesitate to go back. What a jewel.