The clean, warm water of the Chess creates ideal growing conditions for watercress, once a common crop along the river but now grown only here at Sarratt.Water from the Chess is diverted into a series of growing compartments – “beds”.
The cress takes root in the shallow beds, taking minerals from then calcium rich water. The flow is added to by spring water from deep in the aquifer which is at a constant temp of 10 C.
In years when the air temp remains high enough the warm water allows cultivation throughout the winter.The beds support some interesting wildlife, notably the elusive and secretive water rail which benefits from the warm water, particularly in Winter.
Buying local watercress helps to keep this environmentally friendly industry alive. The watercress beds are open daily (and usually on Saturday mornings) for customers to buy local and great value produce.