North Devon ecolodge, England

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Responsible tourism: North Devon ecolodge, England

Environment

Wildlife
Balebarn Lodge is set in 21 acres of farmland managed for wildlife. Popehouse Moor, the farm's nationally recognised Site of Special Scientific Interest, is designated for its sheer diversity, including nearly 200 species of flowering plants. In early summer you'll find two types of native orchids along with countless meadow flowers. Barn owls hunt here at dusk, and dormice abound in the farm's many hedgerows. The four ponds buzz with dragonflies and if you love wild swimming there's nothing like seeing the wildlife at eye level. Bats skim for moths at dusk, and by day the farm's rough grassland is a haven for butterflies. And it's your stay that helps keep it this way. Our paying guests are what make managing the land for wildlife viable - so you're part of the story and can be sure this part of Devon will stay the beautiful place you chose to visit.

Waste
Who was it who said 'he who knows he has enough is rich'? That's our ethos - comfort and quality but not throw away consumerism. So everything about the lodge has been done to minimise waste, from using the rubble from demolished walls in the landscaping to insulating the walls with straw bales and the roof with newspaper and recycled bottle products. Even the bathroom tiles were chosen because the British manufacturer recycled 25% of its ceramic waste back into its products. Every room has a story, every item has been chosen with care and to ensure a sense of place. This is the sort of luxury that's worth treasuring, not throwing away for a newer model. And of course you can recycle when you're here. From plastics to paper, tins to tomatos we'll help you make sure what you don't need doesn't become waste.

Community

Friends and Neighbours
We want you to enjoy all that this corner of Devon offers. We have extensive information in the lodge and online about local attractions and things to do - all within a 30 miles radius, whether it's a trip to the local pub two miles away (borrow a free bike!) or a 40 mile round trip adventure involving trains and the North Devon off-road Tarka Trail. However you get about, be it bike bus car or train, we'll point you to pubs, tea rooms, museums, farm shops and local events that will value your support.

Volunteering and Charity
We take our commitment to our community seriously. Maggie has been a Parish Councillor, and Ian has been on the board of directors for the Devon Environmental Business Initiative. We helped set up a plastics recycling initiative in our local village, and established a local green group. We support the Devon Wildlife Trust with regular donations, for example we donate 5 to the Trust for everyone paying their booking balance by BACS. We are hosts in the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) scheme and through that spread our message and ethos surprisingly widely (our favourite volunteer was a French trainee corporate lawyer who said we'd changed his whole outlook on life!).

Reviews of North Devon ecolodge, 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 31 Oct 2016 by

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


The large pond/small lake was perfect. Our children spent most of their waking time in the water, on the paddle board, in the boat or on the island. Some of
us adults joined them ... but at the end of October, with no wetsuits, we mainly left it to them! It was heaven. We were able to sit nearby and talk, clutch hot
drinks and laugh and take photos, without spoiling their fun. And all the while knowing there was a cosy house with woodburner lit, just a minute away.

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


Book it! The Balebarn Lodge that we stayed in was lovely. Beautifully built and furnished and decorated, simple but comfortable. Possibly take wetsuits for
your children in the autumn, but ours managed without. Can't think of anything else you need to take, everything is there, a lovely place to stay.

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


Our holiday definitely supported conservation. The owners manage their land primarily for wildlife and it is all, including the SSSI, really well cared for. The
holiday lets are their income to allow them to do all the wildlife work. Everything is set up in the house for recycling and using less energy, in a way that
makes it easy to do, not preachy, and still luxurious. LOcal businesses are promoted really well by the owners - local shops, food, activities. They offer to pick you up from the local station .... but we all came by car (car shares!).

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


It was a really really lovely place to go on holiday. If I had been there longer, I may have given it 5 stars ..... as we were only there for a weekend, I am not quite reborn as you suggest! All of us, adults and children, loved it. Very very comfortable, feel good factor of it being sustainable and environmentally friendly. Really welcoming hosts, but not in any way intrusive. Beautiful views and wildlife, would very happily go there again.

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