Responsible tourism: South Downs self catering cottage, England
We know our wildlife, and are committed to conserving it and encourage guests to follow our lead. Badgers, tawny owls, barn owls, bats and stoats all live on the farm. The area immediately outside the cottage is semi wild and provides a habitat enjoyed by many insects, birds and small mammals. Hedges are not cut every year to encourage wildlife. Further a field there are riverbanks, woodlands and chalk down land to explore. There is a selection of books on the bookcase about wildlife, the local area and green building. There is also a scrap book documenting the build.
We have built and equipped the cottage using carefully sourced local materials and we believe it blends well into its environment. We are more than happy to talk about the build and share our experiences with others.
We recycle, reuse and reduce as much as possible. Guests are encouraged to recycle glass, paper, plastic and metal. A compost bin is provided for green waste. Eco- friendly products are provided for washing up and cleaning.
We have installed a solar water heating system and heating is provided by a wood burner currently burning left over wood from the build. This coupled with the high levels of insulation provided by sheeps wool and straw bales means the energy usage of the cottage is very low.
We have a Sustainable Purchasing Policy which has been adhered to throughout the process of building, equipping, and running the cottage.
We know where to find all things local and very happy to share our knowledge. There are a large number of leaflets and brochures in the cottage, and we offer recommendations for places to eat and drink when requested.
We have employed local tradesmen and bought materials locally for building wherever possible. The kitchen was made in nearby Partridge Green and some of the wooden furniture was made by a local charity. Other pieces of furniture are second hand, they have been carefully selected and recycled. We were pleased to have the help of lots of volunteers on the build. Ben Law of Grand Designs fame helped pass on knowledge of green building techniques. The chandelier and hooks were made by a blacksmith living up the road and some of the soft furnishing were made by a local lady.
The traditional dairy farm of around 100 cows supplies milk to local shops on a daily basis and the cows are even involved in the community in another way, disposing of the grains from the brewery after they've finished making Dark Star, a local ale.
We hope to enhance our guests experience by offering or promoting experiences in the landscapes that provide enjoyment and learning in ways that sustain these special places.
The Griffiths family have lived on the farm for over 80 years, between us we have a vast local knowledge we are more than keen to share. We can recommend walks, there are plenty from the door and are happy to advice on outings. We offer tours of the farm and the chance to watch the cows being milked is always popular with old and young alike. Some people like to pick blackberries, sloes and mushrooms when they are in season. We have a woodland campfire area and we can provide a camp fire kit, including pans, utensils and fire-lighting instructions and optional firelighters. We can advice on any local events and can tell you what wildlife has been recently spotted in the surrounding area. The local ploughing matches, country fair and barn dances have all been popular with visitors as are the events at the local Fountain Inn.