Responsible tourism: North Devon ecolodge, England
Wildlife Balebarn Lodge is set in 21 acres of farmland managed for wildlife. Popehouse Moor, the farm's nationally recognised Site of Special Scientific Interest, is designated for its sheer diversity, including nearly 200 species of flowering plants. In early summer you'll find two types of native orchids along with countless meadow flowers. Barn owls hunt here at dusk, and dormice abound in the farm's many hedgerows. The four ponds buzz with dragonflies and if you love wild swimming there's nothing like seeing the wildlife at eye level. Bats skim for moths at dusk, and by day the farm's rough grassland is a haven for butterflies. And it's your stay that helps keep it this way. Our paying guests are what make managing the land for wildlife viable - so you're part of the story and can be sure this part of Devon will stay the beautiful place you chose to visit.
Waste Who was it who said 'he who knows he has enough is rich'? That's our ethos - comfort and quality but not throw away consumerism. So everything about the lodge has been done to minimise waste, from using the rubble from demolished walls in the landscaping to insulating the walls with straw bales and the roof with newspaper and recycled bottle products. Even the bathroom tiles were chosen because the British manufacturer recycled 25% of its ceramic waste back into its products. Every room has a story, every item has been chosen with care and to ensure a sense of place. This is the sort of luxury that's worth treasuring, not throwing away for a newer model. And of course you can recycle when you're here. From plastics to paper, tins to tomatos we'll help you make sure what you don't need doesn't become waste.
Friends and Neighbours We want you to enjoy all that this corner of Devon offers. We have extensive information in the lodge and online about local attractions and things to do - all within a 30 miles radius, whether it's a trip to the local pub two miles away (borrow a free bike!) or a 40 mile round trip adventure involving trains and the North Devon off-road Tarka Trail. However you get about, be it bike bus car or train, we'll point you to pubs, tea rooms, museums, farm shops and local events that will value your support.
Volunteering and Charity We take our commitment to our community seriously. Maggie has been a Parish Councillor, and Ian has been on the board of directors for the Devon Environmental Business Initiative. We helped set up a plastics recycling initiative in our local village, and established a local green group. We support the Devon Wildlife Trust with regular donations, for example we donate £5 to the Trust for everyone paying their booking balance by BACS. We are hosts in the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) scheme and through that spread our message and ethos surprisingly widely (our favourite volunteer was a French trainee corporate lawyer who said we'd changed his whole outlook on life!).