Responsible tourism: Norfolk self catering cottages, England
1. Energy The cottages' underfloor heating and hot water are provided by an air source heat pump. The pump works by extracting heat from the outside air, similar to the way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside. They do consume some energy as they need electricity to run but, as they extract heat from the air rather than generating it from burning fuel, the energy consumption is considerably less.
The cottages have also been very well insulated which increases the amount of heat they retain and making them extremely warm and cosy. We also encourage guests to consider the energy they use with an energy saving shower setting and asking them prior to their stay whether they will use certain electrical applicances such as freezers.
2. Waste We encourage recycling and provide boxes, bags etc to enable guests to do this easily. Any compostable matter is collected and put on the compost heap to feed the many vegetables grown on the North Farm site. We also ask guests to keep food scraps to feed the chickens who live on site and children are welcome to join in with feeding the chickens and ducks during their stay.
3. Water We have our own bore-hole on the farm which provides water for both North Farm and the cottages. We only use green cleaning products (Ecover, Living Clean and Bio D) to preserve the water supply.
4. Transport Whilst many users of the cottages do come in their cars as they are situated in an extremely rural location, we do encourage those who can to come by bike and so reduce their carbon footprint. We also encourage guests to bring bikes with them to explore the surrounding countryside.
We are around 4 miles from the nearest station at North Walsham. The North Walsham train departs from Norwich and generally has room for bicycles without the need to book in advance.
1.Friends and Neighbours
On arrival, we provide all guests with a welcome pack containing produce from North Farm and local producers. A typical welcome pack for a weeks stay might contain eggs from North Farm, local bacon, a bottle of wine, homemade bread and cake, North Farm jam, as well as basics such as tea, coffee, local milk, sugar and local butter. The majority of items that are not produced on North Farm are either bought at Aylsham farmer's market or Frettenham Farm Shop.
We encourage guests to support local producers and suppliers and provide information in the cottages as to where to find the best food, drink and other products. We also provide listings for independent restaurants, cafes and shops. From 2012, we will be providing an interactive guest books allowing guests to share things that they have enjoyed whilst on holiday in Norfolk. We have recently started tweeting to link up with local suppliers and businesses.
2. Local crafts and culture There are a number of artists and craftspeople working at North Farm including David Harley (Potter), Maryrose Watson (Weaver and Textile designer), Sarah Wilson (Printer) and Teucer Wilson (Stone Carver). More information is available on the North Farm website which provides links to some of the artists' individual websites. Guests can arrange to view their work and speak to the artists during their stay.
The owners, David and Gill, also run the craft area at the annual Aylsham Show.
There is also a collection on antique agricultural machinery on-site.