Responsible tourism: Unusual accommodation in Cornwall, a railway carriage
We sustain the environment by; Transport; Encouraging guests to come by public transport and use public transport while here. To this effect we provide lots of detail on facilities and attractions accessible by train. We are active members of our Rail Users group and run surveys of train use at St Germans and campaign for the best service possible. We also award £25 cash-back to guests who arrive by train. We minimise our own car use and travel between our lets by train when we need to work at Hayle during a changeover.
Energy; We use Good Energy electricity and have solar panels fitted. We heat our office with wood. We use low energy bulbs.
Waste; We use local apple juice and return the bottles, we return all pots to our local nursery, we provide full recyling and composting facilities and use the compost and leaf mould to feed our plants. We regularly pick up rubbish from the beach when we visit and encourage guests to do the same. We buy second hand character furniture for our lets. We use recycled paper and toilet paper and reuse scrap paper.
Buildings; We restore carriages that are at risk of being destroyed and are involved with a group that sources and re-uses parts from other carriages that are unsalvagable. We do not take housing out of circulation - we are passionate that our village should be lived in all year round - but have created a community of carriages that brings money into the community.
Wildlife; We garden organically. We grow our own flowers for the vases and landscape so we have flowers all year round. We plant bee and butterfly friendly perrenials and support our local nursery. We have an open heap of tops for the wildlife and provide insect houses, bird feeders and bat boxes.
Water; We have our toilets fitted with water saving devices and use well water for all grey water. We are taping into a spring to provide water for our next development.
Suppliers; We use local suppliers for our welcome packs - Cornish apple juice, Cornish beer and wine, Cornish biscuits, Cornish organic soaps and Cornish milk. Our tea and coffee is fairtrade.
We support the community by; Friends and Neighbours; We put in lots of literature about local amenities, encouraging guests to use our community shop and pub. We provide a book of day trips by train and are working on improving our walking page. We promote local festivals and the local estate during its opening months between March and July.
Volunteering and Charity; Helping to set up the Community shop. Dave has spent three years as treasurer of the shop and was a fundamental link in getting it up and running, sourcing grants and balancing figures. He will be retiring from the post in September and instead be taking voluntary shifts on Sundays. We send all our guests to the shop and also support the pub in the same way, promoting it whenever possible. He also set up the shop website.
Helping to restore an annual village fayre. Lizzy has been very involved in the resurrection of the St Germans May Tree festival, writing up music for distribution, making a processional tree, co-ordinating the decoration of 150 leaves with the local school and brownies, scouts and other youth groups and performing as musicians with our bands.
Helping with the annual Flower and Vegetable show. We have been on the committee and currently co-ordinate the art entries with the local primary school.
Running evenings in the woods with the local scout and beaver groups.
Providing materials for the local school for their forest school lessons - from tops for den making to stools as seats.
Hosting visits around the site by the local school for their various railway and Brunel projects.
Campaigning for change; Lizzy is a founder member of the St Germans Rail Users Group and regularly attends transport meetings and tends and plants the station garden. A few years ago we ran a very successful campaign to halt proposed rail cuts to St Germans station, and overturned a decision to half the service to six trains a day each way, and now have a regular service of thirteen trains in each direction, with as many as 30 passengers alighting at times.
We are only a small business, but we do provide part time work for local people at a fair wage. We have a local caretaker at Hayle. In St Germans we have a young apprentice whom visits from Immingham, who is offered accommodation and training in all aspects of engineering and site work. We also have a local gardener, cleaner and carriage restorer each for a few hours a week. We provide lunch and a good quality working environment.
Local crafts and culture; We let the local craft group cut hazel from our woods for their sculptures. We use a local carpenter, Martin Reed, for the skilled jobs we are unable to do ourselves. We promote a local blacksmith, Paul Ager, by displaying his work in our garden and having his cards in our carriages. We send guests to the Long Gallery run by our friend the artist Jo Lanyon and help to promote the events he runs. We are in two bands (Wurlitza - putting live sound tracks to silent films and Zoot Alor - rock and pop covers) and regularly play for local charities, from the primary school to the May Tree Fayre.
Travelling with respect; We are lucky to have lovely guests who are always welcomed into the community. Some have gone to craft afternoons and village events and almost all become regulars at the shop and pub during their stay. As a result the community often goes out of its way to make our guests feel at home.