Responsible tourism: South Downs luxury self catering cottage, England
At West Marden Farm we care about our environment and we are committed to working in a sustainable way while looking after the wildlife and landscapes that surround us. To this end the farm is in two agri enviromental schemes, ELS and HLS that are funded by Natural England. These schemes support the farm taking arable land out of production and replacing it with options such as, 6 metre wide grass margins along the edge of woods to encourage birds, bees and other insects to forage for food undisterbed, also applying to may awkward corners in the fields that have been planted with species of grasses, clovers and wild flowers as an alternative food source. One field has been completely re-planted with native grasses and flowers that are natural to the chalk downland, this is next to a dewpond that is going to be cleared of alot of overgrown bushes to encourage more wildlife back to the pond; newts, frogs, moorhens etc to name but a few.
The Old Stables was converted in 2002. During the whole process we used local builders and all local products such as local wood and fllints. During the conversion of the barn the builders insulated the beautiful vaulted ceiling, which means that the old oak timber frames are still on show. The result is a building that retains its original features but also it retains heat very well and is cheap to heat in winter! By converting the barn into a holiday cottage we have preserved a very original Sussex barn with all its oak beams as well as adding to the overall income of the farm and enabling other people to experience what it is like to live on a working farm.
We have a bus service which collects people from the village and drops them off in the heart of Chichester or Petersfield. We encourage our guests to use this service and leave the car behind at it helps with our carbon footprint.
Our whole family is actively involved in our local community and we want to make sure that the impact our guests have locally is beneficial to our local businesses and neighbours. There is a great community spirit within the village.
We have a great range of local shops, Compton Village Shop and Tea Rooms, which is supplied from local bakery and farms for fresh produce. Adsdean Farm shop specialises fresh and frozen meats which were reared on the farm to very high welfare standard and The Grange Farm shop at Funtington which grows and supplies seasonal fruit and veg as well as stocking cakes, bread, pies, fruit juices and preserves taht are all baked and made locally.
We do encourage our guests to shop locally and eat locally.
On our website we have a downloadable information pack which our guests can print off before their stay which will inform them of local attractions to visit, areas to walk or cycle, and places to eat locally.
We actively promote local businesses, restaurants and pubs. Before our guests leave, we come down to the cottage to make sure that you have enjoyed your stay at West Marden Farm and ask for our guests to make any suggestions on how we might have made their stay more environmentally friendly or enjoyable.
We encourage visitors to walk and cycle during their stay with us as well as encouraging the use of our local 54 bus service. Our website refers to walking, horse-riding and cycling and we provide a lock up store for bicycles and drying facilitles for walking boots.
If our guests are wanting to find out about the local wildlife, we provide maps pointing out specific walks to take to see wild flowers, badger sets, the red kites etc. We are very lucky also to have Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve nearby. This reserve contains one of the finest yew forests in western Europe, and includes trees which, at around 2000 years old, represent some of the oldest living things in Britain. Finally on the farm we have also taken huge measures to encourage and protect birds and bees and other small creatures on the farm land. We are carrying out a high-level stewardship scheme to restore a dew-pond and reinstating grass and wild flowers meadows. We encourage our visitors to explore the farm and see local wildlife via the network of footpaths.