Walking holiday in Andalucia, Spain

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2016: 5 Nov
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Walking holiday in Andalucia, Spain

Environment

Our objective is to maintain a low impact, sustainable business which employs local people, using locally sourced or home grown produce, allowing visitors the opportunity to sample traditional village life in a non-obtrusive manner, and to explore the hills and mountains along the ancient network of mule tracks , with zero or minimal effect on the fragile eco-system.

We make sure all our guests are fully informed about the importance of water conservation and are given information about local farming and watering. Guests are given the opportunity buy local produce as well as given directions to important cultural or historic sites.

We maintain a 4 hectare finca, or local farm, working with local people and using traditional agricultural techniques. As such we are members of the watering community, an ancient, near sacred body responsible for the upkeep of the network of water channels without which the whole massif would quickly desertify. Our farm is recognised by the soil association as organic, using goat manure from the village and compost from kitchen leftovers. We are members of an organic growers group, and are active members of various pressure groups campaigning against unregulated intensive farming. All our properties are built from locally available materials, using magnesium clay (launa) as insulation over the beams of poplar trees grown for this purpose on our farm.

Community

Everyone we employ lives within the village. The same is true of the builders and tradesmen we have worked with to restore several local houses. The bulk of our purchasing is done at the nearest market town, and we actively encourage our guests to visit local shops which offer wine, honey, olive oil, tapestry work, sun-dried foods, carpentry and ceramics all produced within the community. We are currently in the early stages of an ambitious project to create a charity based work creation scheme whose aim is to create 10 full time positions for the conservation and maintenance of the local landscape.

Unusually for a foreigner David has worked as a local counsellor and this year 2014 we also employ somebody down at our organic farm.

At the start of each tour guests are fully briefed on different aspects of life in Spanish villages as well as given guidelines and suggestions to minimise damage to the environment out on the trails. Spanish customs and social mores (behaviour at Spanish fiesta for example) are discussed.

Reviews of Walking holiday in Andalucia, Spain

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 23 Mar 2014 by

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


Very hard to choose: the kind welcome, the beautiful countryside and riot of almond blossom, the delicious food, the charming and relaxed interior decor, all the laughs we had....

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


The drive from Malaga is beautiful, but feels very long when you've had to catch a flight early in the morning. Granada is closer... Also, tiled floors are very cool. DO tell Emma, David, Jill or Andrew if you need/want something - their service-mindedness seemed to know no bounds!

I was glad to have brought my walking sticks, particularly for going down slopes of shingle or scree.

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


Local people seem to benefit a bit financially. However, the cheerful welcome we received as we walked around the village makes me think they also like having these odd Brits around. Environmentally, good initiatives like solar-heated water (careful - it's burning hot!), local produce and home-grown vegetables are coupled with carefully arranged car-sharing and taking in sights on the way. Supported conservation in the sense that Emma and David aim to preserve traditional ways of doing things as much as possible.

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


Great! I loved the place (Alpujarras and Los Chimeneas), the atmosphere and the walking and was lucky to be there with a lovely group of people. Thank you, Emma, David and co, and be warned: I'll be back!

Reviewed on 04 Mar 2014 by

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


Walking among the Almond Blossom.

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


Have a look at a map of the area so that you recognise names etc when you arrive in the area.

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


Definitely.

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


Excellent from start to finish!!

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