Fitness and activity vacation in Wales, UK
Description of Fitness and activity vacation in Wales, UK
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The eco lodge is completely ‘No carbon’ in that no fossil fuels are used for running the lodge – except for a very small amount of gas (propane) which is used in the gas cooker hob in the lodge kitchen. All the heating and hot water is provided by the following: Ground source heat pump with hot water also provided by an array of solar panels. There are 2 arrays of photovoltaic panels to generate electricity which powers the heat pump. Electricity is also source from the grid via Ecotricity (electricity sourced from renewable energy) We reduce the lodge electricity consumption by fitting LED lights and in bathrooms and hallways the lights are on sensors. We encourage our guests to travel to Pembrokeshire, Wales by train into our local train station – we offer train station transfers (on certain popular times) for free using our minibuses. The activities we run from the lodge are all low carbon – the only fossil fuel required is to run the minibuses which take the group from the eco lodge to the nearby beach/harbour on the coast – which is carbon efficient as only one vehicle is required rather than each person in their own car. We use rainwater to wash the outdoor kit. We recycle everything including food waste.
Our partners behind this vacation promote inclusivity on all their trips and across their business and we are all committed to ensuring travelers face no discrimination on any part of the trip they control.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetWe are committed to promoting sustainable adventure tourism in the wilderness area of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park here in West Wales. We aim to provide the highest standards of hospitality and accommodation, whilst at the same time providing opportunities for our guests to explore Pembrokeshire in a very low impact manner.
Sophie Hurst of Preseli Venture was a key player in the inception of the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group in 1993 which was developed by Pembrokeshire based outdoor adventure and environmental education centers, working closely with the National Park and the National Trust, to foster commitments by those involved to an environmental code of practice to preserve the unique landscape and wildlife of this beautiful, unspoilt coastline. The aim of the Charter is to develop a sustainable management of outdoor recreation on the Pembrokeshire Coast, and due to the success in Pembrokeshire this model has been rolled out to other areas around the country.
Preseli Venture are proud to support the work of MCS, the UK’s leading charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. We’ve teamed up with the Marine Conservation Society to raise awareness of the threats facing our coastal waters – too much is being taken out, too much thrown in and not enough protected. As part of the MCS Beachwatch Programme Preseli Venture organise quarterly beach cleans and surveys at our two local beaches of Abermawr and Aberbach, as well as the Beachwatch Big Weekend which is a co-ordinated national beach clean and survey held every year on the third weekend in September.
Preseli Venture is an accredited “Green Key” eco lodge. A global eco-label, Green Key is managed in Wales by the environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, and recognised worldwide in over 47 countries. Green Key aims to educate and encourage the tourism industry from providers to visitors to change unsustainable behaviours, to engage a greater awareness of the environment when making choices, and importantly to become more involved in the protection of their environment.
The eco lodge was built on the principles of sustainability and is extremely low carbon; we utilise renewable energy in the form of a ground source heat pump boosted with solar hot water panels to generate all our heating and hot water, photovoltaic panels to generate electricity, the lodge runs on green electricity from ‘ecotricty’, is highly insulated being built out of polystyrene formwork and uses low energy LED lighting. Certain structural features, such as traditionally crafted windows, have been designed and made by local artisans using locally sourced and sustainably managed wood. Since we are in the countryside and off mains sewerage, considerable investment has been made in a modern bio-disc sewerage system preventing pollution in the local valley and stream.
We take a range of measures in our day to day operations to reduce our impact, from maintaining paper-free administration to collecting rainwater to wash adventure kit. On a domestic and housekeeping level we use ecological cleaning products and toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper. We recycle everything possible and compost our food waste. We do not sell any plastic water bottles and instead sell our own aluminium refill water bottles. We source food from local providers wherever possible, and choose Fair-trade teas and coffees to serve to our guests.
Our employees live locally and have a minimal commute to work. We also offer accommodation onsite so that staff can live and work without unnecessary travel. We encourage use of public transport by offering our guests pick-ups and drop-offs to the local train station in our minibuses. We run our minibuses on biodiesel, recycled chip fat, and thus help our guests to further reduce the carbon footprint of their trip. We also utilise these minibuses for adventure activities meaning everyone shares transport to the adventure location. We are involved in actively lobbying and campaigning for increased access to Pembrokeshire via public transport through our associations with the North Pembrokeshire Transport Forum.
PeopleAt the heart of our operation at Preseli Venture is a deep seated belief in supporting our local community. For over 30 years, we’ve been committed to forming positive symbiotic relationships with local independent businesses and organisations such as the National Park and National Trust. We source local produce direct from the local producers for example, seasonally grown vegetables, locally brewed beers, ales and spirits and much more. We also work with local providers who deliver excellent quality experiences in Pembrokeshire such as boat trips and horse riding – our ‘all-inclusive’ packages integrate activities from local businesses too! We believe in honest recommendations and often send our guests to local pubs and cafés to experience the best of the local area and evenly distribute the economic benefits of tourism.
We employ passionate and talented local people. Finding employment in rural areas with largely tourism based industry is challenging and often leads to our wonderful and enthusiastic young people moving away to search for jobs. We employ a core team year-round and also offer many additional seasonal jobs and in-house training for local people who wish to be outdoor guides. It’s important to us that our guides have a deep knowledge and understanding of the local landscape, so we focus on training and employing young, enthusiastic adventurers who know the local area better than anyone.
As much as possible, we get involved in charity events and fundraising – from offering local community enterprises and charities activity vouchers to use as fund-raiser prizes to hosting and marketing charity events! In August last year, Preseli Venture played host to the Heads Up Challenge, an exhilarating full day ‘sunrise to sunset’ adventure challenge event to raise money for Place2Be a charity which supports children’s mental health, emotional resilience and well-being.
We work with local community organisation POINT in Fishguard which offers support and skills- based learning to young people. POINT brings groups of young people to learn about sustainable tourism and also demonstrate locally based career options.
We provide minibus transport from our sustainable adventure center in Mathry to the location of our adventures. This way, harbour carparks, which are used daily by local fishermen, are not over-filled with cars – everyone arrives together in one vehicle. We also maintain partnerships with local farmers who allow us to park our minibuses on their land instead of using the carpark during peak season.
The resources and infrastructure of rural communities can be put under pressure by imbalanced seasonal tourism – small businesses often struggle to stay open and employ staff year-round. This is why we do our very best to spread out our activities, taking out smaller groups of adventures all year round rather than large groups over the high season.