The damage to the environment caused by climate change, a dependence on fossil fuels and an expanding global population is clear. There are changing weather patterns, mass deforestation, and too much pollution and waste now. Huge issues about water resources and global food harvests are just around the corner.
We want to live a responsible lifestyle in order to reduce our impact on the environment, and the beautiful landscape we live in, and to extend the same values to the way we run the B&B too. At the same time, we also want to provide a B&B with good quality as well as an affordable price, and so we try to balance these considerations. Below is a brief summary of what we are doing.
All of our heating and some of our hot water are provided by a biomass boiler, fed by concentrated wood pellets. Much of our hot water in the summer months is heated from solar thermal panels, which are very well integrated with the pellet boiler. Please feel free to ask us more about our use of alternative energy if you are interested in this area, and we are also happy to show you how a biomass boiler system actually looks and works!
This included the use of new materials such as thermal plasterboard, double glazed but traditional windows, and masses of insulation. It also included reuse of existing materials where possible – so the old dining room floorboards fitted in two bathrooms, beams and oak doors on the ground floor, old flagstones reused outside, and most of the rubble rolled into the car park foundations.
All our appliances are of high energy rating, the cleaning products are all natural, and we use microfibre cloths for many jobs.
We are corporate members of the local Red Squirrel Conservation Trust and support their work financially. We also support Fix The Fells, a project to repair and maintain eroded fell footpaths in the Lake District. If you would like to help either project, a donation can be made at the end of your stay.
Low energy and LED bulbs, careful thermostatic control of heating and hot water, and electricity sourced from wind and solar farms owned by the alternative energy supplier Ecotricity are some of our efforts here. The other important area is harnessing the power of the sun, with solar thermal panels for hot water proving very efficient and a small array of solar photovoltaic panels to generate some of our own electricity. Together with our biomass boiler, our energy is all provided from sustainable sources.
Our two wood burners are fed either by recycled wood from the building project or from wood felled whilst trying to maintain the land we have.
The main part of our furniture in the B & B is made from recycled Dhow wood. Old boats that can no longer be mended are taken apart, stripped down, and used to form beds, tables, and other items such as lamps. The furniture will probably last longer than us!
Paper, cardboard, tins and cans, clean foils, hard plastics, bottles and other glass, and batteries. We buy products from recycled material, such as our paper (both office and household), nice glasses, and waste bins. We look carefully at our consumption levels in all areas, whether energy, food, or stationary, so as to reduce on waste and transport wherever we can.
We try to look after “our” red squirrels as well as we can. We also provide large quantities of food for a high number of birds, and so indirectly our resident pheasants too!
We are trying hard to eliminate this massive pollutant! All our shopping is with reusable bags and we buy ‘loose’ food where possible. Muffins for guest rooms are now presented in reusable boxes rather than wrapped with cling film. Plastic bin bags are no longer in use anywhere in our property. The ‘whites’ for laundry are now transported in kitbags without masses of plastic ‘wrappings’. We are on a path to totally eliminate single use plastic in every area of our life.
Solar thermal panels for hot water have proved very efficient and are very applicable for the demand for lots of hot water between Easter and October when we are most busy. We also have installed a small array of solar photovoltaic panels that contributes, at times significantly, towards the high electrical costs of the site. We originally wanted a bigger array, but due to planning restrictions, we had to settle for a smaller installation.
All are natural, locally produced, refillable, and without lots of “wrappings”.
Towels are changed in the middle of long stays of five days or more, unless left in the bathtub, in which case we change them immediately. Linen is changed for guests with long stays if required.
Public transport is not so easy, as none comes close to Lowthwaite, but we only have one car, have chosen not to have a 4WD, and carefully plan our shopping, so we don’t need to go town very often.
We have our own spring water and sewage treatment plant. The water is taken directly from the spring behind the house, passed through both UV and particle filtration systems, and is treated after use in a plant that works with a minimal electrical supply through aeration and natural bacteria to produce water that can be discharged back into the stream in a drinkable state. The water from the spring also flows through the terrace behind the guest bedrooms, and brings us much enjoyment that way.
We ask for support for two local charities that both work to preserve important features of the Lake District. The first is our local Red Squirrel group, which works hard to protect these animals. Cumbria is one of the few counties that still has a relatively large red squirrel population and conservation efforts over the last few years have stabilised their numbers. The second is Fix the Fells, a multi agency partnership that carries out vital repairs and maintenance on the upland paths that are enjoyed by millions of walkers every year. Most of the labour is provided by volunteers but funds are needed for the helicopter drops of stone and other materials.
On the last evening of your stay, a Visitor Giving Form will be attached to your Breakfast Order Form, inviting you to make a small contribution to the important work carried out by these two charities. If you would like to make a donation, it is simply added to your final bill. Please Gift Aid any donations if you can; instructions are on the Visitor Giving Form.
On the last evening of your stay, a Visitor Giving Form will be attached to your Breakfast Order Form, inviting you to make a small contribution to the important work carried out by these two charities.