Green by Name and Green by Nature
Green policy statement
We are committed to leading the most environmentally friendly way of life we can, to making our home, holiday cottages, garden and farm the most sustainable we can and to caring for the wildlife we have responsibility for in order to ensure a better future for all.
Energy use: all our properties have solar panels to provide hot water, every property is insulated up to or in excess of building regulation standards, all windows are double glazed, Stone Barn is heated by a ground source heat pump and all other heating boilers are high efficiency and are serviced annually to maintain the minimum level of emissions, wherever possible light bulbs are low energy, wherever possible all kitchen and electrical appliances are A or A+ graded, energy is purchased at green tariff rates. Our planning application for a wind turbine was turned down and we are currently exploring the possibility of installing a photovoltaic electricity generating system to become a carbon neutral business.
Water use is minimised by providing showers at all our properties, Stone Barn has a built in rainwater harvesting system which supplies all toilets and washing machine, Beer Mill (our home) has its own underground well and many water butts for watering the garden and feeding animals, Hill Cottage has a water butt for watering plants and for general outdoor use. As we replace domestic appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines we are opting for water saving appliances.
Flora and fauna: as part of our commitment to caring for the wildlife here at Beer Mill we maintain a wildlife diary to record all sightings and events and we encourage our guests to join in and add entries to the diary or send us their photos. Over the past 5 years we have carried out various biodiversity recording exercises by professional bodies such as Green Ecologica (bats) the ornithological society (birds)and other wider surveys in collaboration with DWT. Parts of Beer Mill Farm have now been certified as a County Wildlife Site and in March 2010 the entire farm was accepted into the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme run by Natural England.
Farm and Nature Trails: All 130 acres of our land and garden is managed without the use of chemicals, pesticides or inorganic fertilisers. The entire farm is managed for the benefit of wildlife. Livestock owned by local graziers is used to help manage the site naturally. Hedgerows are being restored and rare wildlife habitat maintained and improved for more details have a look at the Nature Trails page of the website or follow the blog.
Community: we participate and serve our community at every opportunity we have regular visits from our local primary school, playgroup, wildlife interest groups and community groups all of which is free to the visitors as part of our commitment to the community. Wherever possible we support local, organic producers, restaurants, pubs, shops, activities and tourist attractions. We use many local services from building and maintenance services to farm contractors, from local garages to gardeners. We are also commited to ethical and organic purchasing including Fair Trade.
Staff awareness: All our cleaning, gardening and maintenance staff are aware of and share our commitment to caring for the environment.
Training: Dick and Elaine and members of our team have taken part in many wildlife/conservation training activities and volunteer days through the Devon Wildlife Trust and have attended green business training days through South West Tourism
Green business network and information sharing: Elaine and Dick are part of the Ruby Country Network for sharing local ideas, information and produce. They also maintain contact with other local businesses via DWT including other accommodation providers.
Specialist advice: Elaine and Dick receive specialist advice from many organisations to help keep our business as green as we can- these include Devon Wildlife Trust, Devon Association for Renewable Energy, Henry Doubleday Research Association (organic gardening), Soil Association, Natural England, the Barn Owl Trust.
Transport: we encourage lift sharing between our team and use a small VW polo blue motion for our own transport, limiting our use and making journeys count for several purposes when necessary. We do use a 4X4 but limit its use for towing, farm work and carrying large loads which we cannot manage by smaller vehicle. Local public transport is limited but we do provide timetables in all of the houses and there are bicycle storage/rental facilities at all of our cottages. We encourage guests to spend at least one car free day during their holiday by enjoying the nature trails and the wonderful peaceful rural environment. Guided walks are available for those interested in exchange for a donation to DWT.
Finance and Charity: all financial transactions, personal and business accounts are with ethical banks Triodos and the Co-operative Bank. We regularly support chosen charities in the past and present these have included Surfers against sewage, Barn Owl Trust, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, DWT, Oxfam. Charities who are interested in working with us for fundraising please contact us via the website.
Feedback: we love to hear feedback from our customers good and bad if we have got something wrong we need to know about it so we can put it right, also customers are great at coming up with ideas we might not have considered this helps our business to move forward and get better all the time. We do like to know if we got something right too a bit of encouragement helps us all !