Isle of Wight self catering cottage nr Shorwell, England

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Isle of Wight self catering cottage nr Shorwell, England

Environment

We aim to minimise the harmful effects and maximise the beneficial influences that our activities have on the Island’s environment.

We support a number of Isle of Wight environmental organisations (Gift to Nature, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Isle of Wight Ornithological Group) that aim to protect the island's precious wildlife and encourage visitors to get closer to nature. We provide wildlife books and guides to help guests identify local birds and animals. We have a laminated booklet for snorkellers which illustrates the sealife that can be found around the coasts of the island. We provide a pair of binoculars for guests’ use. We provide bird feeders and food (peanuts, sunflower seeds, niger seeds, suet). We provide a nestbox for blue tits. We have a “Wildlife diary” where we and our guests record any wildlife we see in the garden.

We have adopted the island’s new waste collection scheme and note that recycling rates have tripled since its introduction in January 2012. We provide a kitchen caddy for food waste and a wheelie bin for recyclable waste. Instructions on waste collection and recycling are clearly displayed in the cottage. We encourage guests to dispose of glass bottles, jars and aluminium cans via the mini-recycling site. We use electronic media as the core of our marketing strategy, advertising on several internet sites so our use of paper is minimal. We provide washing detergents in concentrated formats where available. We provide personal hygiene products in the same kind of formats as the guests may use in their own homes - we do not purchase individually packaged soaps, shampoos etc.

We have a water meter and encourage guests to be careful with their water use helped by the measures we have taken to reduce water consumption in the cottage, i.e. low flow rate showers. We have a notice in the bathroom asking guests not to dispose of items down the toilet but place them in the bags provided and dispose of in the rubbish bin. We have one water butt and this is used for watering and thanks to this and our stream we never have to use tap water for watering the garden.

We advise visitors (via a folder in the cottage) how they can help us save energy by turning off lights, using the microwave rather than the cooker, not filling the kettle, not leaving appliances on standby etc. We have A-rated appliances and 75% light bulbs are low energy or LED. We have 30cm insulation in the loft. We selected Good Energy as our electricity provider as they source electricity from people generating sustainably from wind turbines, solar panels, small hydro and sustainable biomass all around the country, supplying the national grid with only 100% green energy.

Our website and brochure promote the use of public transport. We provide guests with information on places to visit that are easily accessible via public transport and provides links to public transport providers, including ferry operators and buses. The bus stop is directly outside / opposite the cottage. In the cottage we provide Ordnance Survey and local town maps, walking and cycling guides. We promote the use of Wight Cycle Hire based locally in Yarmouth and they can deliver cycles to the cottage. The island is popular with cyclists and has dedicated cycleways. Our website includes a link to CycleWight, a local organisation which promotes cycling. Guests are given access to the garage so that they can store cycles securely.

We support the responsible use of chemicals and long term protection of the planet’s natural resources. When choosing products from our suppliers we therefore consider the value, performance, safety and wider sustainability impact of their products and operations, i.e. human safety, environmental safety, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste and sustainable sourcing. We use recycled products in the cottage wherever possible including kitchen roll, bin bags and toilet paper. We include a list of suppliers of local produce and local crafts in our cottage. We provide a welcome hamper from the Brighstone Village Shop that includes local produce. We provide Fair Trade tea, coffee and sugar in the cottage. We provide Ecover soap in the cottage.

In our own garden, guests can relax by our crystal clear brook that has its source a few hundred metres away in NorthCourt.

Community

We provide leaflets on surrounding cultural attractions, including museums, National Trust and English Heritage properties, gardens, archeological sites, galleries, local events and festivals. We make the local parish newsletter available and ensure guests are aware of local events, e.g. Shorwell midsummer fair at Northcourt and Wolverton Manor Garden Fair. We also share our copy of the NGS Yellow Book so that guests can visit the local village gardens when they are open. We are a lifetime member of the Freshwater Independent Lifeboat and have made a £50 donation to the “Buy a brick” scheme to raise funds for the new boathouse and a £5 donation to the Freshwater Lifeboat Mosaic Appeal. We are members of the local Chamber of Commerce and are listed on the IOW Tourism website. We volunteer for the National Trust Isle of Wight and Teresa is a member of the central volunteering team.

We use the services of a cleaner, caretaker and gardener from the local area (i.e. next villages of Brighstone and Freshwater).

Landscape

We provide a wealth of information to our guests on how to enjoy the local landscape. With a spectacular coastline, rolling hills, green countryside, historic buildings and welcoming pubs, the island makes a great location to explore on foot or by bicycle. We provide an Ordnance Survey map and walking / cycling books & leaflets. As members of Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust we also share their newsletter and events diary. In our own garden, guests can relax by our crystal clear brook that has its source a few hundred metres away in NorthCourt. Enjoy the birdlife as well – we supply a variety of bird food and it is a treat to watch the birds on the feeders just outside the kitchen door!

Reviews of Isle of Wight self catering cottage nr Shorwell, England

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


cosiness and remoteness of the cottage (thanks God not situated on the Eastern coast!); we found it exciting to go on the bus to Freshwater and to enjoy the remarkable coastline (a walk from Freshwater bay to The Needles is highly recommendable - ); to witness the Ventnor Carnival (and other carnivals) was another higlight

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for climate change (can be really hot!) on the Isle of Wight; in order to see whatever you'd like to see on the IoW do take the bus; due to narrow roads I wouldn't recommend to explore the island by bicycle; relatively low ceilings in the cottage groundfloor might rise problems to those who are more than 1,80 metres tall - we had one with us (2,15 m !!!) who didn't mind his head all the time ...; have a look around Shorwell, a nice little village with a lot of historic traces

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It was a good feeling to stay in a place where responsibility for the environment is important. Yet I'm not really sure whether we managed to reduce environmental impacts because we felt having "produced" a lot of packaging waste, although we tried to buy local/regional products (and not to go to Newport). So: better go to Brighstone and do your shopping there (for example there you find people selling vegetables at their front door).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Not the least thanks to the accommodation owners we spent exceptionally good times on the Isle of Wight having faced the variety of weather we had expected before ... Bus stop in front of the cottage kept us from stressfully starting excursions. The cottage was extraordinarily well equipped with everything people need on holiday in a self-catering place (never met such a standard, even details have been cared for!!!): four and half stars.

Read the operator's response here:

I’m delighted that you loved the location of our cottage and the facilities that we provide. I will make a point of mentioning ceiling height in future - for sure we don’t get many guests at 2.15m! We love Brighstone village too – a real privilege to have such a wealth of island produce for sale on our doorstep.

Reviewed on 09 Sep 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Walking across the Tennyson trail - fantastic views!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Look beyond the tourist trails - there's some gorgeous coves etc off the main tourist areas.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes - we used local Post Office and local smallholder for vegetables; cakes and flowers.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Simply the best one ever spent on the Island and it was the 15th trip!

Reviewed on 16 Aug 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Superb accommodation made a great base to explore the isle of Wight, an area new to us. Lovely garden and al fresco dining!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Walking boots essential! Check local tide times! The timing of local tides (7-14 August 2010) meant that the nearest beach was covered with water most of the day, but if you ventured further afield there was no problem.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we were encouraged to shop locally and to be careful with resources such as water and electricity and to recycle almost everything - good recycling centres here; excellent public transport, which we used on several occasions, was highlighted to us in the cottage information pack.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The weather was not great for August but everything else was brilliant, there is lots to do and see - and amazing walking!

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