One of the first things you notice when you come to Alresford, apart from the completely traditional high street, the striking Georgian architecture and coloured houses and the abundance of pubs and coffee shops, are all the references to watercress. So when back in December, Alresford Town Council invited us to join other businesses and produce a Welcome Pack for new families moving into Alresford, (download your copy at the foot of this post) we knew what we had to include.
There is watercress everywhere!
On most days in the season (April-October) you can buy bunches of the green peppery watercress leaves in the greengrocers on West Street, on any weekend during the year you can travel in and out of Alresford in a vintage steam train on the Watercress Line, then in May we have our nationally acclaimed annual Watercress Festival, when the centre of town becomes one great street festival of family fun entertainment. Finally if you wander around the town you will come across several watercress beds where you can see for yourself how this lovely green stuff is grown and if you are visiting from April to October you can probably see it harvested too.
Facts about Watercress…
Did you know, gram for gram, watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach. It is said that Hippocrates located his hospital on the Greek island of Kos close to a stream so he could grow watercress and use it to treat his patients and apparently Napoleon was a big fan. In the United Kingdom, watercress was first commercially cultivated in 1808 by the horticulturist William Bradbery, along the River Ebbsfleet in Kent. Although it is now grown in a number of counties most notably Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset, Alresford is considered to be the UK’s watercress capital. It has been grown here for nearly 200 years and back in the 1800s watercress from Alresford was transported daily by train to be sold in Covent Garden.
So back to our Binky Bear Welcome Pack; we have put together an Alresford Calendar featuring as many of our local events as we could fit on one page, and in true Binky Bear style we have written a special poem to welcome all new families who are joining us in our beautiful corner of Hampshire.
So whether you are moving into Alresford or not, if you’d like to have a copy of our Binky Bear Welcome Pack you can download it by clicking on the link at the foot of this post. You will notice the The Watercress Festival this year is on Sunday May 15th and Binky Bear will be there in our usual place outside The Bell. See you there.