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River Cottage badly damaged by fire

A serious fire has "severely damaged" celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Park Farm.

The blaze, which happened just after 10pm on Tuesday, has left the River Cottage team at the chef's headquarters in Axminster, Devon, "shocked and upset".

Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is away filming, is yet to find out about the fire, a spokesman said. The cause of the blaze is unknown.

Emergency services, including the police and fire crews, went to the scene after the single-storey building caught fire. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said eight fire engines and 80 firefighters attended the farm after receiving calls to a commercial kitchen on fire.

The fire was brought under control after nearly three hours and there were no injuries.

A spokesman for River Cottage said: "Late last night a serious fire severely damaged the main barn at River Cottage Park Farm headquarters in Axminster.

"Thankfully, no people, or animals, were hurt. The River Cottage team are dealing with the damage today and are shocked and upset.

"Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is away on a long-distance filming trip and will be informed as soon as he can be contacted."

The River Cottage Canteen and Deli at Axminster was unaffected and is open, a spokesman said. But the cookery school courses at Park Farm will not be running in the short term.

"Anyone booked on a course will be contacted by the River Cottage events team as soon as possible," a spokesman said.

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