Peak District self catering cottages, England

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Peak District self catering cottages, England

Environment

Organic Farm
We are an organic dairy farm in the heart of the Peak District National Park, we have initiated many local sustainable projects and believe passionately in the strength of our local community. We try to live by organic principles; using our own organic produce, buying local food, using local services, employing local people, reducing our environmental impact and that of our guests. We believe that it is up to us as farmers to be open about how farming works and why buying local helps everyone. We have a Peak District Environmental Quality Mark and a Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme. We are very proud to have been awarded Highly Commended in the Virgin Vacations Responsible Awards in 2009 and 2012.

Our Wildlife
We nurture our great crested newts. We have hares on the farm. We feed birds
and have a huge charm of goldfinches that over winter with us, we also have linnets, fieldfares, winchats, owls, pied wagtails, wrens, wheat ears, skylarks and many more. We are business members of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Overall we have planted about 1500 trees on the farm since 1984.

Our Environment
We look after and maintain our traditional stone listed buildings. We do most of our building work. We use eco friendly paints where possible. We have optimum insulation - some of it local sheep wool from a neighbour’s sheep and double glazed and shuttered windows. Recent building developments have used lime plaster with insulation incorporated which help maintain the character of the traditional buildings. The cottages both have energy monitors so you can see what you are using. We use only LED and low energy lighting (and wind up LED torches) and many of our outside lights are solar powered and all are on PIRs- because we want you to appreciate the real darkness and beauty of the stars.

Recycling
We and our guests separate and recycle glass, cans, paper, cooked food waste, cardboard, food packaging, tetra packs, batteries and light bulbs and we compost vegetable waste. We only print when necessary and then use recycled paper and we recycle our print cartridges. All paper goods are recycled, loo rolls, kitchen rolls, tissues, printer paper etc. All our table mats are made from recycled tetra packs.

Our kitchen compost goes into our vegetable garden and helps produce much of our own food and we give surpluses to guests. We use eco-friendly cleaning products, dishwasher powder and washing powder and a new eco product 'fill and shake' cleaner (Against Shipping Water campaign). We buy everything possible in bulk.

Water
Rain water is collected, half goes into a storage tank for use, and half feeds a pond with great crested newts. In the Cottage by the Pond the toilets flush with rain water and most of our toilets are dual flush, we are engaged on a programme of changing the remaining three to dual flush also. We have restored a traditional stone hay barn and use rain water for toilets there. The waste water from the farm is partially cleaned by a small plantation of goat willows.

The Pilot Light Renewable Energy Project
In 2009 and 2011 a large investment project took place on the farm, taking out 2 old oil boilers, 5 emersion heater and several night storage radiators, replacing them with a 120kW wood pellet boiler and mini district main. We added a large array of innovative solar panels (flexible solar film instead of heavy glass). This reduced our carbon footprint from 41 tonnes to 14 tonnes. The biomass system now provides hot water and heating for all the accommodation at the farm including under floor heating for the restored Haybarn which hosts ten Eco weddings every year.

The only remaining oil user is the Farmhouse Rayburn. This has been altered to enable savings of around 25% in its oil use. It is used to cook the farmhouse breakfasts, provide heating and hot water for the family accommodation and a unique pressing system.

Food
For our self catering guests, we supply local foods and local ready-meals from local environmentally friendly farming- you can walk across the fields - then eat the food produced there! Breakfasts are served on big platters so you can take as much or as little as you want, reducing wastage. We use cloth napkins to reduce paper waste and have interviewed several laundries to find the most eco friendly one. We use long life beautiful orchids or local or garden flowers, no imported cut flowers.

Transport
We will try and pick you up from the nearest bus station in Ashbourne. We have safe storage for your bikes with lots of information about cycle friendly routes as well as information about lots of local attractions and walks. We also have our own self guided farm trail so you can get as passionate about our place as we are!

Community

Our Village
We play an active part in our community. Terry is the Chairman of the Parish Council and Sue started the village Art Club which went on to produce a magnificent 18m long folk art painting of the history of Ilam! We keep the marquees used for many jolly village events and always supply our big brazier to light up the evenings.

Our Suppliers
Almost all the food we serve is locally produced, or if not then FairTrade or at least English! One example is our Juice, we didn't want to offer tetra packs of anonymous orange juice so after investigation we now offer delicious English Apple Juice from Orchard Pig in Somerset, not so local but the nearest. Our fruit trees now supply almost all the fruit we offer for breakfast- fantastic Damson, plum or rhubarb compote, to go with our home produced organic yoghurt and organic porridge.

We display the work of local artists, indeed Sue's Swedish style folk art is inspired by the landscape around the farm.

Local Charities
We support several charities, Friends of the Peak District, the local First Responders and Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register, our guests can choose if they would like to help us donate.

Global Charities
We support Practical Action, (practical solutions to poverty in the developing world) and again our guests can chose to contribute.

Our Networks
We work very closely with brilliant networks of similarly responsible businesses to offer the real Peak District experiences. We are part of the Peak District Electric Bicycle Network- a wonderful way to get to see and know the local countryside over the walls! We are also planning an electric car charging facility.

Our Employees
We employ local people and work hard to be flexible to accommodate their family commitments. We organise training courses and look after our staff because they and our community are all part of our family too.

Reviews of Peak District self catering cottages, England

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 vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation 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 Aug 2014 by

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


Dovedale proved to be very popular and we spent 3 very enjoyable days there.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The breakfast we had delivered to our door on our last morning was delicious!
It's quite pricey but it kept us going, with a few snacks, until supper when we
got home so it was worth it.

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


Yes there was a lot of evidence to support this.

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


The accommodation had everything we needed and the owners were welcoming and informative. It was a good overall experience.

Reviewed on 10 Jul 2013 by

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


Walking through the country side and stopping for lunch at a country pub. Also
watching the cows walking past the cottage in the morning and evening.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Read the recommendations for where to eat and what to see that are in a folder in the cottage.

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


Yes, particularly local people as most business went out of there way to inform
customers that they supported local suppliers.

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


Very relaxing and the cottage was wonderful to come back too at the end of the
day, or have a break during the day.

Reviewed on 30 Oct 2012 by

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


The cottage was wonderful and the views superb. We did some great walking and some amazing eating. The farmhouse breakfast has to be described as memorable -delicious!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Eat the breakfast! The walk to Dovedale was great. Stay longer than three days!

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


Yes, that was very evident from everything in the cottage.

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


Exactly the relaxing break we needed and more.

Reviewed on 03 Nov 2011 by

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


Arriving at the beautiful cottage surrounded by glorious hillside views!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring wellies, a map, and good walking shoes! Embrace the self catering! Order as much fresh produce as possible from the owners - it's all delicious.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, very much so.

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


Amazing- we'd love to go back!

Reviewed on 05 Dec 2011 by

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


The landscape and walking.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring a good pair of walking boots, you will want to use them!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It helped support the farm we stayed on (very friendly people). The nature of the vacation meant that we spent locally, shops, pubs and restaurants.

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


Very enjoyable, shame that it rained quite a bit!

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2011 by

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


Waking up to see the sun filtering through to the snowy hills opposite us, sheep grazing and the moon still high. It was so peaceful, beautiful and relaxing. Also, the wonderful walk on (somewhat icy) Bunster Hill, down the valley to the picturesque village of Ilam.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take walking boots, bring provisions, and just enjoy!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes - we were staying on an organic dairy farm, which is a family-run concern. They supply other businesses (including some of the large supermarket chains) with their produce. We bought many of our provisions directly from them. In terms of environmental impact, we travelled by public transport and were picked up by Sue in Ashbourne, the nearest town. We recycled or composted most of our waste. We walked everywhere!

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


Absolutely wonderful! We had a very relaxing stay in the cottage, and wish we could have stayed for longer.

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2010 by

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


The view from the Little Cottage at the accommodation! Lush green fields, dry stone walls, sheep and cows, gently rising dales, woodland valleys, hovering kestrels and darting hares - all whilst you enjoy your first mug of tea and Sue's flapjacks in your private back garden on arrival. Then there is the wood burner in the living room which will soon warm up stiff walkers legs, lots of beautiful paintings to admire, a beautiful bathroom and a very comfortable canopied bed. In the morning you will be visited by the friendliest hens and will see sheepdogs at work - they are incredible!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring wellies and/or boots and if you plan to be out walking, waterproof jacket and trousers. Don't plan an itinerary because the weather is changeable and it's much more fun to look out the window in the morning and decide then! Don't do Dovedale at the weekend as it gets very busy - leave it for a weekday when you can enjoy the beauty on your own. The Tissington cycle trail is a very easy level cycle track, following the old railway line across the dales which a whole family could do.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I bought some locally made meals which were delicious and shopped in Ashbourne. The recycling and composting system is very good, all cleaning products are biodegradable, there is a biomass boiler on the farm and at the time of writing this, I think they are greening their system even more. It's an organic farm so if you stay here, you are supporting and contributing to the organic ethos. You also have the opportunity to see a working farm in action and increase your awareness of organic farming.

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


I loved it! Sue, Terry, Alex and Rob are the most helpful, lovely people who make you feel really special. I loved all the little touches like the welcome board, the flapjacks, the comprehensive farm information folder and the meals I had ordered already in the fridge. The cottage was spotlessly clean and very well equipped. There is so much to do in the Peak District that you could probably go out every day for a year and there would still be more to do! I will be coming back!!

Reviewed on 23 Mar 2009 by

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


The beautiful view from the cottage and peaceful surroundings. You could not ask for a warmer welcome - and the home made flapjack waiting for us when we arrived was delicious.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring your walking boots and enjoy the surroundings. Don't miss the farm trail (literally on your doorstep), it's really interesting, a good way to get your bearings and learn about how the farm has developed over time. Definitely take advantage of the take-away breakfast from the farmhouse, a great start to a day roaming around the beautiful countryside.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. The owners take such care and attention to detail, it makes it very easy to be good, e.g. sort waste for recycling. Their recommendations for nearby restaurants point out those that use local produce.

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


Superb. We had a lovely weekend here, and you could easily stay for a week with plenty to see and do. The cottage is really cosy and ideal for 2. You can tell that the owners love the place, and after one day you feel the same way! We will definitely recommend, and come back for another visit like so many others. The loyal fanbase is well deserved and reading the guestbook gives some lovely insights into what to do in the area.

Reviewed on 10 Aug 2008 by

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


An evening spent in the hot tub after a day's walking, as the light faded over the Derbyshire hills and dales. Cycling gently along the Tissington Trail, with unexpected and wonderful views. Or just sitting in our tiny walled garden reading and enjoying the peace of the countryside.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The farm has a gorgeous, serene setting in the south of the Peak District, and Sue and Terry Prince are the most welcoming hosts you could wish for. Make sure you order their produce for your stay, including home-baked bread and milk from their Fresian herd.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, in that their food buying policy means produce is either from their own organic or neighbouring farms or ethically sourced (Fairtrade). The farm's situation means you can do any number of walks straight out of the door, or cycle along a limestone trail built on an old railway route that starts from nearby Ashbourne, hiring bikes at the local cycle centre.

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


A fantastic place to relax and unwind, beautifully cared for by Sue and Terry and just really special! Obvious from the guest book that many visitors return time and again. A great base if you love the countryside and want to walk or cycle, and plenty of country pubs with very good food.

Reviewed on 22 Jul 2008 by

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


The peace! The cottage is situated in such a wonderful location. The local food was wonderful also.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go prepared for tranquility and peace with your walking boots and plenty of books.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we purchased local food from the farm and from the farm shop down the road. We also ate in the excellent local pubs in the evening. We also bought 2 sheepskin rugs that had been naturally tanned which are very rare to find.

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


Very relaxing and just what we both needed after quite a traumatic year.

Reviewed on 02 Jul 2008 by

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


At the farm we thoroughly enjoyed the Farm Trail, despite fighting against the strong gales! In the area there was loads to do and the Tissington Trail (cycle way) was an excellent relaxed way to spend one of the dry days.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take strong boots and wind/waterproofs to enjoy the local countryside - of course you may get perfect weather! Go prepared to have a go! The walks from the farm meant you didn't need the car. Food is available for sale, but did not cater for Gluten free so we took some prepared meals to make life easy.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. The farm is organic and is very beautifully situated. It seemed idyllic. Used local people to work in the B&B and cottage cleaning.

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


First rate. Cottage very comfortable with everything we needed. Hosts and "fill ins" (hosts went on vacation) were very kind and met all questions and requests helpfully. We'll be going again to do all the things we couldn't fit in

Reviewed on 15 Feb 2008 by

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


Use of hot-tub in garden! Novel experience.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Book longer than a weekend.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes - eg. ate locally produced organic food which enabled us to stay in on the saturday night thus not using car

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


Great weekend.

Reviewed on 24 Dec 2007 by

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


The sheer peace and quiet. Much appreciated by someone who lives on a noisy main road!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't try to do too much......just relax and look out of the windows at the superb countryside and get to know the owners, Sue and Terry. They give you a fascinating, no holds-barred, perspective on working an organic farm.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. We pumped a fair amount into the local economy.

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


Excellent and memorable.

Reviewed on 22 Dec 2007 by

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


Arriving in the dark and finding our way through the farmyard to our little cottage, glowing with light and warmth from the little stove burning ready for us, and a welcome gift of chutneys and a personal note from the owners; really lovely start.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring pyjamas as the bedroom was cold!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes! Really good. They have made a really detailed booklet about exactly how the farm runs. Really educational and accountable.

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


Excellent.

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks for your kind comments - sorry the bedroom was cold. I just discovered that my husband, Terry, had borrowed the bedroom heater and not put it back! I have learned a lesson to double check.

We are working on plans to replace all our old oil boilers and electric heating with (hopefully) a wood fired boiler and maybe an experimental bio-gas digester. So if you come again, hopefully you will be as warm as toast!

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