Clarence Villa chickensA North East restaurant is hatching a plan to become more sustainable, with the help of more than 30 chickens.

The Clarence Villa at Coxhoe, County Durham, now has its own brood of Longhorn and Gingernut hens, collectively laying up to 20 eggs per day.

The eggs, gathered fresh every morning from the venue’s garden, are already being used in a variety of British-style dishes for the bar and restaurant, including fish pie with boiled eggs, peas, vegetables and mash.

The empty shells are then roasted and ground into a powder, which is mixed with the hens’ feed to help make their future eggs stronger and more flavoursome.

Since being opened Sonnet 43 Brew House in 2013, The Clarence Villa has supported local producers by sourcing the majority of ingredients from within County Durham.

Among its current suppliers, dubbed the venue’s food heroes, are Hall’s Poultry at Rushyford, Lanchester Diaries near Durham city and Parlour Made, Sedgefield, which provides a range of cheese.

The raising of chickens on site, which is being managed by The Clarence Villa’s head chef and kitchen team, represents a further desire for the venue, which serves as a brewtap for the adjoining Sonnet 43 microbrewery, to be as sustainable as possible.

In recent months this has also resulted in the creation of a herb garden to supply a wide range of fresh ingredients, including rosemary, thyme and mint.

Jamie Foster, General Manager at The Clarence Villa, said: “The use of locally sourced ingredients has been a priority at The Clarence Villa since our launch last year and we’re gradually making moves to be more sustainable too.

“Our ultimate aim is to be officially recognised, just like our sister site, The Lambton Worm, Chester-le-Street, which is recognised as a two star sustainability champion by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) – and hopefully the chickens and herb garden will help us achieve that.”

For more information about The Clarence Villa, or to book, call 0191 3773773 or visit