Self catering holiday barns, South Downs, England

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Self catering holiday barns, South Downs, England

Environment

We have installed the best insulation to the barns and have solar photovoltaic collectors to make heat and Electricity for the barns. In Quebec we have a log burner with wood from our coppiced ash and pollarded willow for fuel. Water collectors support the farms needs.
In the farm we preserve the swallow and long tailed tit nests for each annual return and have created with the RSPB a Barn Owl habitat in the Dovecote. In the main wall is a pipistrelle winter roost and in the garage is a long eared bat maternity roost. A wildlife area in the orchard supports shrews amongst the blackthorn, ideal for the barnowls. Buzzard, Holly Blue, Slow Worm and Lizard all use the orchard which thrives under their natural pest control. And in the farm house roof since 1948, is a honey bee colony which is our big pollinator. In the Summer we allow an area of the protected manor House field to grow longer grass to allow the glow worms to put on their annual show in the evening as part of their life cycle. Later we take this as a hay crop for the hens winter bedding and that in its turn then goes to the orchard as natural fertiliser.

Community

The Cuckmere Valley community works well together. We support Friends of Cuckmere by hosting a valley walk, support the Historical Society by organising Archaeological digs and hold two open weekends a year to support our local Saxo-Norman church All Saints where they run refreshments and hold a table sale along with our own produce and local traders. In the village we maintain the ancient flint wall with a yearly visit from Cuckmere Valley Flint Wall Specialists at Litlington. Each of the barns has a walks and guide to the local pubs which supports the communities in the villages of the valley. The farm produces Apple Juices, Jams and Chutneys from only our fruit and we sell this at our local farmers market at East Dean 2 miles along the road each Wednesday. All of us support the local produce, least possible food miles and detailed knowledge of our product to keep alive local farming

Landscape

I run a local French Influence on the Cuckmere for the Friends of Cuckmere and a Farm history and Archaeology walk around West Dean. This explores how the valley traded and fought with the French coast in previous eras. Modern links are here to with the defences against the Napoleonic and WW2 invasions which never came and how the farm was host to the mechanised division of the Quebec regiment. And each barn has a folder of walks along with an Ordnance Survey map to use whilst you are here. An amazing walk through many landscape types take you down the estuary, along the cliff tops and back through the woods. Lots of wildlife in the day but even more if you get up early to catch the geese on the marsh or the kittiwakes on Seaford Head.

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