This series begins five years after Hugh first left the city and moved to River Cottage. With a growing family, Hugh, his wife, and their two young sons, move to a 44-acre (180,000 m2) farm, which is ten times larger than the original River Cottage property. Hugh also buys an old dairy farm and—over the course of the series—renovates its buildings into "River Cottage H.Q.", a sort of kitchen, café restaurant and teaching centre.
Hugh moves to a new farm with a far larger number of animals to care for. This includes eight cows, which Hugh and his veterinarian check for pregnancy. Later Hugh goes fishing and brings home a bounty of sea bass. Hugh inspects several locations in search of a site for River Cottage H.Q. before settling on a nearby dairy farm. Hugh briefs Michael Michaud on his ambitious plan of transforming the cow stalls into planting beds and growing a garden directly off the leftover cow dung. As demolition work begins, Hugh constructs a makeshift barbecue on the site and cooks lunch for the workers: spicy sea bass fillets in foil pouches.
8 October 2004
Hugh's invited 50 friends to a Valentine's dinner at River Cottage H.Q., which gives him only two weeks to transform a manure-encrusted barn into a working kitchen and dining room. Later, Hugh visits an oyster farm and takes his sheep's skins to a tannery, where they are transformed into rustic seat coverings for his dining room. Hugh serves his guests a romantic Valentine's dinner of nettle soup with oysters, and hogget hearts and tongues prepared as a papricaş.
15 October 2004
Hugh can't open River Cottage H.Q. until he installs a loo. He learns how to treat wastewater with ponds of reed and willow plants. Hugh experiences a Native-American-style sweat lodge followed by a chilly dip in the ocean and warming Bull Shots he's made with beef stock and vodka. Then Hugh partners with local farmers to sell purple-sprouting broccoli and blue cheese at the Bristol farmer's market.
22 October 2004
Hugh sells waffle breakfast to Morris dancers at a festival. Then he sets about open River Cottage H.Q. to paying customers, and for opening night he wants to serve up a giant lobster. However, his giant trap catches only a conger eel. Hugh poaches the eel in a court-bouillon, and deems it appealing enough to serve (alongside smaller lobsters which he's purchased from a local fisherman.) He also serves roast beef sirloin and fresh asparagus, which had been harvested only an hour earlier and delivered by motorbike.
29 October 2004
Hugh constructs new polytunnels and plans the year's plantings. Then, Hugh joins John, a mushroom hunter, as they search out morels growing in suburban flowerbeds. Hugh makes a chicken and morel mousse, which he takes to a picnic gourmet competition. Then Hugh sets up a potted orchard at River Cottage H.Q. and learns to hand knead and shape bread at a bakery in Bridport.
5 November 2004
Ken, a local bee keeper teaches Hugh to set up his own hive and captures a rogue swarm which he relocates to Hugh's farm. Mark and Candida, fellow downshiftedsmallholders, ask Hugh to host their wedding. For the feast, Hugh stalks, shoots and spit roasts a roe deer. He makes a pâté from the liver. The bride and groom pitch in, gathering gooseberries and fishing for trout. The wedding cakes comes in the form of a three-tiered pavlova.
12 November 2004
At his family farm, Hugh buys a gaggle of geese and ducks. It's the height of summer, and Hugh meets up with fisherman friend John as they sell whelks to tourists on the beach at Lyme Regis. Hugh invents an Asian-inspired whelk dish with an aromatic salsa. Then he and John participate in a wheeled race around the town's pubs. At River Cottage H.Q., Hugh holds a tomato festival. The festival-goers sample Hugh's panzanella and Gil's tomato ice cream, and Hugh competes against Ray the butcher, Mike Michaud and Barbara Gunning in a ketchup competition.
19 November 2004
Hugh harvests his first honey and samples mead. At a bee keeper's show, Hugh's honey wins first prize, though his honey-based fudge and cake don't fare as well. Then, Hugh attempts to convert the public to eating tripe, which he sells stewed with beans at market. To relieve stress, Hugh visits Eleanor, a herbal healer.
26 November 2004
Hugh commissions Tim, a potter, to produce chicken bricks, traditional ceramic jugs used for cooking chicken. Tim fires his Japanese-style kiln on Guy Fawkes Night, and turns the process into a party. Hugh provides wood-fired pizzas with buffalo mozzarella made fresh in Devon. Hugh and John the mushroom hunter hatch a madcap plan to search for mushrooms by paraglider, and they eventually discover some delicious parasol mushrooms.
3 December 2004
In this hour-long special "A River Cottage Christmas Feast", Hugh prepares a gluttonous ten-bird roast: a woodcock in a partridge in a pigeon in a pheasant in a guineafowl in a mallard in a chicken in an Aylesbury duck in a goose in a turkey. Hugh also learns how to build a smoker and makes sausage baubles for the Christmas tree. Then he joins the cider circle for some mulled cider and wassailing in the orchard. The River Cottage H.Q. team is treated to a day of squid fishing. Finally, all of Hugh's friends join him in the medieval-themed feast.