Chilterns self catering barn conversion, England

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Chilterns self catering barn conversion, England

Environment

The conversion of our redundant agricultural buildings are designed to be in-keeping with the surrounding architecture and to maintain the original features where practically possible. We re-use materials when appropriate and source reclaimed timbers from other farm buildings. It is important to us to retain the character of the Chilterns countryside by ensuring that local materials, such as hand made bricks, are used for extensions and repairs. We are campaigning hard to prevent the building of HS2, the new High Speed rail link that the government is proposing to drive through the heart of The Chilterns destroying our ancient woodlands, protected areas and places of special scientific interest. We have had a successful fund raising programme to finance the court challenge, opposing the HS2 project. We have attended rallies at The Houses of Parliament, given many television interviews and submitted dozens of articles to the national press, many of which have been published and supported by the national and local press. We comply with regulations laid down by DEFRA and believe in using as few chemicals on the land. Our lamb is completely organic and no fertilizers or chemicals are used on their pasture. We use only local contractors to transport our livestock in order that the animals need only to travel as short a distance as possible.

Community

We encourage our guests to use our village shop which is staffed by volunteers from the village. We ourselves serve in the shop one morning a week - the shop stocks as many locally produced products as possible. We also take a close interest in the elderly residents who come to the farm twice a month, once for a Sunday tea party and once to watch vintage films. We encourage our guests to visit our local churches, some dating back to the 15th century, and to enjoy the afternoon cream teas provided and served by the parishioners in the village. We alert our guests as to when the local team of Morris Dancers are due to visit the village pub and encourage them to enjoy the evening in a quintessential English village atmosphere. We support our local churches, all our children have been married in the village church and the children Baptised there too. We employ local craftsmen whenever possible, also local staff to help maintain the farm. During the lambing season we make welcome the local children who come to bottle feed our lambs, it is an opportunity for them to begin to understand and respect agricultural animals and the part that they play in our lives locally.

Landscape

We provide our guests with a wide range of literature on local historical sites, National Trust properties, walking maps ranging from Iron Age forts to the ancient Ridgeway path and details of tow path walks along the Grand Union Canal. We recommend a list of interesting pubs, restaurants and coaching inns in the area, some with great historical significance and traditional features.

For walking enthusiasts The Ridgeway and The Icknield are within easy reach and the farm itself is surrounded by many beautiful walks on public footpaths through beech woods and the Chiltern Hills. The near by Grand Union Canal offers cruises on narrow boats and towpath walks with traditional pubs along the way.

We tell our guests about our local wild life, in particular to enjoy the Red Kites which soar above the farm, to look for the muntjack at dusk and to keep an eye out for the gliss gliss who are our uninvited guests. We point out the bats that roost in the barn and swoop low over the patio in the evening, and to take care when driving at night to avoid the badgers. We show them where to see the sparrow hawks and where to watch for the buzzards that live in the beech woods on the farm. In spring we encourage them to walk down to the woodlands and enjoy the wonderful carpet of bluebells.

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