We have been certified organic since 2003. We grow all our own fresh food using no big machinery, make our own compost and compost tea, save seeds, grow heritage varieties, and nurture the incredible biodiversity that an organic smallholding produces.
We use local businesses for many of our food purchases for example our cream, yoghurt, milk and ice cream come from a nearby organic dairy farm; sausages, bacon, and chicken comes from a farm about 15 miles away. Our local veg box scheme delivers our organic fruit and mushrooms each week, and we grow all the rest of our fresh produce on our own holding.
We have recently installed a Gaia 11kw wind turbine after over 2 years battling with planners! This is set to produce about 30Mw of electricity per year and as we are all electric (we use NO fossil fuels apart from the gas hob and our car!) this should supply a large percentage of our energy. Any imported electric we use is 100% renewable from Good Energy. Low energy lightbulbs have been utilised in all appropriate places.
Many of the toilets now have half flushes, towels are only changed at the end of a stay unless requested by our guests and sheets are changed after 4 days in the case of long stays and after each shorter stay. We use Ecover washing powder and fabric conditioner and we use a local eco laundry for all our bed linen which utilises a no detergent, ozone and cold water method. as possible. The soaps, shower wash and shampoo in our guest rooms and for ourselves are all certified organic and the cleaning fluids and toilet ducks are also Ecover products. The towels and bathrobes are all 100% organic purchased from Greenfibres as is all the new bed linen. All of the surface rain water has been directed by means of drainage pipes installed by us to our wildlife pond, which has an inlet and outlet and the running water keeps the pond fresh and clean, for the many species living there, including dragonflies and newts.
Because we grow so much produce ourselves and because we do not buy in pre packaged food and products, we produce only small amounts of packaging wastes. All cardboard is either used as mulch on the garden or stored for later collection for recycling. We also recycle all of our glass, plastic and paper. All green and kitchen waste is composted for reuse on our own gardens.
The whole 5 acres is certified organic and is managed under the Soil Association standards. We encourage bio diversity by leaving long grass and wild margins, these encourage predators which prey on our garden pests. We have established a wild flower meadow to encourage bees and other insects which assist pollination and a wildlife pond which creates a habitat for many different species. All our land is managed using rotations, green manures, and is carefully irrigated using below ground weep pipes to minimise water evaporation and wastage.
Our hedges are allowed to grow and are trimmed only by hand when necessary, this creates better habitats for nesting birds, and we are particularly lucky to have skylarks resident. The old trees in the orchard are also only pruned as required and the old holey branches provide ideal nesting places for blue tits.
In 2001 we 'rescued' a derelict Victorian house and as the restoration progressed had a dream to take the chance to make a new (if rather late) change of direction in life. We bought back the adjoining 4.2 acres and set about creating the gardens, planting hedges and trees and in 2003 applied to the SA to convert the land to organic production and also registered as the first, and still 1 of only 3, certified organic B&B's in the UK. We continue to develop and in 2011 finally installed our own wind turbine. We are passionate about what we do and love to share it with like minded people.
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