I think we’re all agreed. Local produce tastes better, is better for our environment, and buying local is a great way to support your community. That said, of course, it’s not always easy to buy local and the lure of the supermarket can be strong. Which is why I am always equally delighted and excited to find a great local store stocking lots of local wares. Cue Lodsworth Larder.
Back in August, whilst out running with good friend Gerald (who incidentally is immensely patient with me), we stopped off for a Pitts-Stop at the Lodsworth Larder. And what a find.
It has quite a back story.
In 2007, a lady in the village was lamenting the lack of a village shop. That lament led to the idea of a community-run store. The necessary fundraising and activity duly took place and the decision was made to make this a sustainable and eco-friendly shop. The resulting building was designed and built by architect Val Hinde, and woodsman and eco-builder Ben Law (as seen on Channel 4’s Grand Designs). It has an A-frame construction design and is made from locally sourced materials, for example, the wall insulation is sheep’s wool and electricity is provided by photovoltaic panels. It opened in 2009 and is a very beautiful build.
These days it’s still run by volunteers and has not-for-profit status. Their mission is to serve the community.
A Pitts-Stop at the larder
Walkers, runners, and cyclists are welcome and they have free water bottle refills, a bike rack, and they even have a puncture repair kit. Joy of joy, as you might expect, they also stock a wealth of local produce which includes Petworth honey, local fruit and veg, local gin and wine, local dairy and meat products, local bread and biscuits. It’s all there. They’ve won lots of awards, and are super friendly and helpful!
Lodsworth is a pretty village with a long history. Its claims to fame include a spring near St Peter’s church which was a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, especially for people with eye problems. It was also home to Ernest H. Shepard, illustrator of the Winnie the Pooh stories and The Wind in the Willows and was the late childhood home of explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Lodsworth is just outside Petworth (What3words: slant.family.doors). Turn right just after the Halfway Bridge on the A272.
Combine a visit to the Lodsworth Larder with a walk. Lodsworth is within the South Downs National Park so there are lots of great walks in the area. It’s also just on the edge of the Cowdray Estate and not far from the famous Queen Elizabeth I Oak (so named because she allegedly sat underneath it). Even back then it was already old. It has a girth of 12.6m and is thought to be approximately 1,000 years old. In 2002 it was designated by The Tree Council as one of fifty Great British Trees.
Alternatively, head into Petworth for a morning browsing the many little boutiques and then have lunch at The Horse Guards Inn at Tillington before stocking up on local produce at Lodsworth Larder.
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