Former Michelin starred chef Kevin Tickle and his wife Nicola collected the keys to an historic 17th century Inn, in Newton-in-Cartmel in early August.
Ever since they’ve been hard at work behind the scenes getting the Inn ready for the builders to move in, so that they can begin an extensive programme of refurbishment.
The programme of work will see the installation of a modern kitchen, service area, and upgrades to the bar, restaurant area, and the six guest bedrooms, as their historic venue is transformed into a stylish Inn with Rooms.
Alongside working with architects and kitchen designers to draw up plans for the refurbishment, the couple have also been working with web design agency Scratch Creative, based in Kendal, to develop a new identity for the Inn.
The couple wanted a name they could relate to, that meant something to them and linked the Inn to the varied landscape of Cartmel Fell that surrounds it.
In the Lakes and Dales there is a phenomenon that isn’t encountered elsewhere in England and it relates to ‘Hefted’ sheep. This is a term that refers to sheep who through successive generations of ewes have learnt to live on their own part of the fell without boundaries, in all weathers, only being brought down to pasture at gathering times, after which they instinctively return to their own patch of grazing ground on the fell.
This homing instinct is the result of centuries of evolution and is irreplaceable once lost, but it’s not just the sheep that are ‘Hefted’ it’s also the hardy breed that tend these flocks, the hill farmers themselves, who are equally invested in the land which they farm, land which is without question is in their blood.
Understandably this northern farming term resonated with both Kevin and Nicola, which when you come to know them is no surprise. Especially when you learn they are both firmly of the area, having grown up, been schooled, worked, and now live close by with their own children.
You might say they like their parents and grandparents before them are firmly ‘Hefted’ to the Cumbrian landscape. There’s certainly no doubt that this unique land is in their blood, just like the native sheep on the fells and the farmers who tend them, who both inspired the name for their new venture – Heft.
Alongside the name Kevin has been refining his menus, which will be revealed in the coming months the bar will serve a range of quality beers from local breweries across the north of England, a carefully curated list of wines from across the old and new world, accompanied by seasonal small plates and snacks utilising the best seasonal produce available, which will provide guests with an insight into Kevin’s restaurant menus, and a fine dining restaurant serving Kevin’s unique take on modern British food made with the finest provender available from Cumbria and further afield.
Kevin and Nicola commented: ‘’As many people know we’ve been looking for somewhere for a while and when the Inn became available in Newton-in-Cartmel it felt right. We wanted to make it ours and create an identity for the Inn that meant something specifically to us and in turn would come to mean something to the people who visit and stay with us. We chose to use the farming term ‘Heft’ because it refers to a place that keeps being returned to time and time again by successive generations. That’s exactly what we want to see happen here, we are in this for the long haul and want to be able to pass a legacy onto our two kids. Hopefully, people will understand what we are trying to achieve here and will approve of the name we’ve chosen and why we’ve chosen it.’’