Green holidays: Responsible tourism at Treworgey
We are strong believers in the importance of respecting our environment, both local and global. We have invested as much of our revenue as we possibly can into renewable energies including solar, wind and biomass and go to great pains to ensure that each of our beautiful old buildings is restored and cared for in keeping with local vernacular and using local (sometimes ancient) materials and skills.
In 2017 we will finally become completely self sufficient for all our heating and hot water in all but one of our 15 cottages (the remaining one, Orchard, is heated by waste wood products in a biomass boiler).
Below are more details if you'd like to know more and if you are interested in seeing our renewable systems, please don't hesitate to ask during your stay and we will gladly show you around!
Treworgey Farm is situated in an area of great natural beauty with fantastic views as all can see. The 150 acre farm is home to a wealth of diverse wild life and plant life from barn owls to bats, from hedgehogs to herons as well as spectacular wildflowers, ancient woodland and wetland. Treworgey is also home to old buildings, walls and hedges that are fantastic examples of traditional Cornish methods and workmanship.
As the lucky custodians of this tranquil little piece of Cornwall, we want to try to protect and preserve the land, plants, wildlife and buildings here for people to future generations to enjoy.
Living in such a beautiful but delicate environment has made us acutely aware of the impact that humans can have on the natural world, and we recognise our part in this on a global scale. We aim to enthuse our guests with our passion for caring for the environment and hope that they will take this with them when they leave.
Our environmental policy is a combination of an ethos, explained above, and a set of promises as follows:
1. Green energy We will use new technologies and significant investment to achieve greener methods of gaining the energy we need.
2. Reducing emissions We will use local suppliers, encourage guests and staff to car share or use public transport, and will order deliveries efficiently to try to limit the emissions we cause.
3. Waste We will provide easily accessible recycling facilities for all our guests and staff on-site, as well as composting facilities
4. Green products and suppliers Where possible without compromising our standards, we will use environmentally-friendly products such as toiletries, cleaning agents and gardening products and will use suppliers that make efforts to respect the environment wherever possible.
5. Caring for our land We will take care to preserve natural habitats including hedgerows, wetlands, woodlands and waterways and will avoid the use of pesticides or other chemicals that could harm these wherever feasible.
6. Caring for our buildings We will protect the local vernacular of our beautiful stone buildings, and will use traditional local methods to preserve their integrity
7. Supporting local We will use local suppliers and support local business wherever possible, and will support our local community through charitably giving, staff training and community engagement.
8. Sharing our vision We will strive to inspire staff and guests to care for both their local environment and the planet. We will also lead by example, share our experiences and learn from others in the tourism industry via forums such as the Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Scheme and the Green Tourism Business Scheme (which has given us their Gold Award).
Our achievements in the pursuit of 'being green'
Treworgey farm has been farmed under the countryside stewardship scheme. Every care has been taken to encourage wild flowers and wild life. Streams are protected and fertilizers are very little used.
From 2003 Over the past few years we managed to find through private sources (the council here will hardly recycle anything except rubbish from our own house!) recycling bins for glass, paper and plastics. We compost all our green waste and have provided composting for willing guests.
In 2004 We installed banks of solar thermal mats beside the swimming pool to reduce the huge amount of oil that we were burning to heat it. They made a big difference on sunny days in summer, but on average did not make a significant difference overall. So in 2007 we invested heavily replacing the mats with glass solar tubes. Inside the glass tubes are metal collectors within a vacuum. These tubes can get hot enough to fry an egg on sunny days and are still very effective on cloudy days. Solar thermal is particularly effective for heating a pool as the evacuated tubes heat large amounts of water from low temperatures. We are delighted with the tubes so far and now generally use the boiler a lot less, only occasionally on overcast days throughout the summer. Hence In 2007 we also installed evacuated tubes on three of our cottages for domestic hot water. The collectors are capable of providing all the hot water required on sunny days in summer and will still contribute on a cloudy day in December. If you are thinking of reducing your carbon emissions by producing some of your own energy, we highly recommend solar thermal for heating your domestic hot water as the most cost effective first step.
2005 The major development at Treworgey in 2005 was the opening of Lois' (Gamma's) new cottage. This cottage was designed to be as near carbon neutral as possible. We attempted to combine the use of traditional building methods to maintain the building's vernacular character, with new technologies to achieve much greater energy efficiency. This cottage has masses of insulation in the walls, roof and floors, supported by underfloor heating , double glazing and low energy lighting. Materials used were sourced locally ie Green cornish oak, reclaimed Delabole slates, local natural stone and we have used traditional lime mortar (instead of cement) sourced from the Cornish lime company in Bodmin. We also installed a highly efficient log burner which is a sustainable source of heat.
2006 The opening of River Barn on 22nd June was achieved comfortably - we had at least an hour to spare! As well as our wonderful team of Treworgey helpers, Bevis' sister, Jenny, and husband, Grant, and Bevis' very active 91 year old mother, Lois, helped all of us get River Barn finished on time. Lois (often known as Gamma), beavered away non stop, painting this, cleaning that, polishing the other! All furniture was sourced locally from Antique shops where ever possible. Some old furniture was recycled by being restored by Grant who is a cabinet maker. We went to endless lengths to insulate River Barn as well as Lois' Cottage, while again doing our best to maintain the vernacular architecture of the barn. To further our green interests for Treworgey, we installed a ground source heat pump for both River Barn and Lois' Cottage to run all the underfloor heating and hot water. These new technologies caused a lot of head scratching, but eventually we got there.
2007 Treworgey's drive to turn more green continued: more recycling bins were put in place, and plans for a wind turbine and evacuated tube solar panels were submitted. An additional project that winter was to provide, instead of night storage heating, central heating for Coombe, Stable and Orchard, which was fitted with a high efficiency condensing boiler. In a few years time we would like to try changing the oil boiler for a wood chip boiler - boosted with solar panels.
Planning permission to install a wind turbine to contribute to our very high electricity use was awarded too in 2007. Sadly because we do not have a three phase mains electricity supply at Treworgey, Western Power would only allow us to install a 6 kW wind turbine instead of the 15 kW one we had planned. This we installed in September and after a series of teething problems, it has been in full production since Jan 2008.
Solar panels were installed on some of the cottage roofs for hot water. We also replaced the not so efficient solar plastic mats with evacuated glass solar tubes . Solar thermal is particularly effective for heating a pool as the evacuated tubes heat large amounts of water from low temperatures.
Fires - Lots of our cottages have open fires, which you (and we) all love. We are keeping some due to very popular demand. However, where we can we have replaced open fires with log burners. We have also replaced most old stoves now with very high efficiency log burners with clean burn glass doors. This means that everyone can see that lovely fire - and know that it is burning very efficiently on locally renewable timber.
Low energy lighting - We have been experimenting since 2005 with low energy lighting. Some bulbs are uselessly dim, and some create a very ugly white light. However they are improving all the time and we think we have a good balance now. If you have any comments do let us know. Please note - Low energy lights are dimmer when you first switch on - they need a minute to warm up.
Double glazing We have wrestled with our traditional ideals and compromised… When replacing windows now, we are using high quality wooden double glazed windows that look as traditional as possible - and have a really good energy rating.
Water We have our own water supply here at Treworgey and Coombe. The water all goes through uv light treatment to ensure that it is perfect to drink. We are told that our bore hole at Treworgey produces water good enough to bottle!. …So please be green, don't buy bottled water. Use Treworgey water. If Coombe visitors want the best bottled water - bring your old bottles and fill up at Treworgey. Why not fill up old bottles and take some chemical free, pure Treworgey water home with you? Because we feel very strongly in these issues we are investing heavily. The pay back is very long term. Probably the next generation will benefit rather than us!!
2012 Brought new energy incentives from the government. Unfortunately because we had already installed numerous renewables, we did not qualify for the feed in tariffs. However, we installed more wood burners and installed solar PV panels at Coombe and Trewogey in 2012. We also installed more solar thermal.
Biomass The installation of a district biomass heating system to heat all the buildings (apart from three cottages at Coombe) was our biggest project yet. The 200kW boiler that provides heating and hot water to all the cottages will eventually run on our home-grown biofuel crop of miscanthus, but is initially being run on woodchip.
2014-15 With Holly now representing the new generation at Treworgey, we are reinforcing the strong green ethos developed by Linda and Bevis. We continue with an ongoing programme of the less ‘glamorous' ways we can reduce energy consumption. Such as adding insulation into loft cavities and boiler rooms, all windows we been replaced are double glazed, and we are always on the look out for the most efficient appliances, light bulbs and so on.
We have spent considerable time trialing ‘eco' cleaning products , with mixed success. As a result we now tend to use some ‘green' products and some traditional ones. We live in the real world and realise that while we want to be as green as possible, green still has to achieve the job it was designed for - at least as well as a traditional product if not better. We now have for sale in our information room a small selection of eco products such as loo roll and clothes washing tablets. If you do decide to purchase any of these we would welcome feedback. Likewise if you would like to know about which green products we have tried and found to work – or not – then please ask.
Please read on for 30 ways whilst staying at Treworgey you can be a responsible traveller............These are ways that you can help Cornwall's environment while you here are on holiday .......
30 Ways to be Green on Holiday
30 ways whilst holidaying here you can help reduce energy wastage and preserve Cornwall:
1. By using the log burner (in any of the cottages where one is provided) if you require more warmth instead of more central heating.
2. By turning heating down and closing all windows when you go out.
3. By turning heaters/ radiators off when not needed.
4. By turning off appliances when they are not in use – like when you're mobile or laptop have finished charging
5. By only using the washing machine with a full wash load
6. By washing your clothes on a cooler setting
7. By using eco friendly washing powder such as Ecover for your clothes washing. It is far less polluting, especially when in the country where all our drains go into septic tanks which can't work properly if they have chemicals such as bleach attacking the good bugs that break down the sewage.
8. By using eco friendly cleaning products if you want to do any cleaning of surfaces etc while you are staying here – you should find a selection of these in the cottage but do let us know if you are running out
9. By only washing towels and clothes when necessary - do you want to spend ages washing on holiday anyway?
10. By avoiding using a tumble drier, or partially drying cloths in the dryer and then using the airer provided. By far the greenest is to use the washing line whenever possible - weather permitting!
11. By stacking your dishwasher up during the day and only running it when full. We provide you with environmentally friendly dishwasher powder. Also you can run large appliances – like dishwashers – at night using the delayed start function on most of our machines. This is when electricity is off peak, so by using electricity at this time not only is it cheaper but furthermore power stations should have to produce less to meet peak demand.
12. By turning thermostats down on electric heaters at night.
13. By running your central heating at a lower setting if comfortable. (The evenings when you are resting, temperatures need to be warmer than when in and out during the day.)
14. By shutting windows when heating is on and drawing the curtains at night.
15. By showering rather than bathing and avoiding everyone in the house washing at once ….. to give systems like the heat pump or solar more chance to recover.
16. By not buying bottled water - drink our wonderful water at Treworgey - and take some home!
17. By not leaving taps running and by conserving water where ever possible.
18. By composting your green waste.
19. By .....Recycling ..... recycling ...... as much of your waste as possible - all your glass, paper, plastic etc in the bins provided or drop off at recycling banks when you are out and about.
20. By switching off lights not in use.
21. By switching off lights and shutting doors and windows in playrooms and information room when you have finished.
22. By switching the television off, rather than leaving it on standby.
23. By shopping locally, using our onsite produce stall and eating locally grown and produced food.
24. By in house dining ... using Coombe Kitchen meal service. Delicious food is all cooked at Coombe here on the premises .... and with local fresh produce.
25. By spending days here at Treworgey and enjoying the facilities here - less travel – less fuel.
26. By walking from Treworgey (instead of driving to go for a walk) around our beautiful farm and woods - why not take a picnic?
27. By leaving the car at Treworgey and using the train at Sandplace – or the local bus service which can be met at the end of the lane. If you leave the car behind and walk, cycle or use our excellent local trains you will see so much more of the beautiful Cornish countryside.
28. By visiting lots of the wonderful attractions here on our doorstep and avoiding too many long car trips to more distant attractions.
29. By sharing a ride - If you have two cars here, jump in together and go out in one!
30. Please shop and eat locally - sample some of our wonderful local produce such as great local food from 'Simply Cornish' in Looe, The best home made pasties at the Pasty Shop (blue and white stripy) in Fore Street Looe, Cornish Orchard's wonderful apple juices and jams just up the road from Treworgey and our local farmers markets, butchers and small farm shops. Do remember our in house meal service and when you want to eat out try our wonderful local restaurants too. It is only a short car drive (or train ride) to Trawlers in Looe or The Well House. These restaurants for example use local produce wherever possible.
These suggestions all save significant amounts of energy.
Our Environmental plea ….If you have experience in green technology and can advise us on how to improve, do please come and talk to us. We would really appreciate guests feed back. If you have ideas on how we could be greener - or ways in which we can improve your holiday experience in general, do please tell us. By supporting us you would be supporting the Cornish COAST project that we are members of.
Thank you very much. Thank you for reading and ....where ever you holiday - try and leave only your footprints... HAPPY HOLIDAY Bevis & Linda and Jo & Alec
Ground Source Heat Pump
In the autumn of 2005 we installed a ground source heat pump to provide all the heating and hot water for River Barn and Lois' cottage.
A heat pump, for those who don't know, works in the opposite way to a fridge. Instead of extracting heat from within a fridge to cool down the interior, a heat pump extracts the heat from either the outside air or the ground. Underground, water is pumped around the 800 meters of pipes that we laid over 1.2m deep in the field. As the water passes back through the heat pump, the heat is extracted, cooling the water to below 0 degrees. The water contains anti freeze to stop it from freezing. The icy cold water is then pumped through the ground again where it slowly warms back up to the ground temperature. The heat extracted from the ground is converted into lots of hot water, which is stored in a very large insulated cylinder. For every 1kW of electricity used, 3 to 4kW of energy is extracted.
The heat pump is less efficient at heating water to high temperatures. This is why a heat pump is so effective used in combination with underfloor heating. Hot water used for UFH runs at a lower temperature than water used for traditional radiators. Underfloor heating is also great because the heat is under your feet and the stone floor conducts the heat well into the rooms. It is a very much more pleasant heat to live with than radiant heat produced by conventional radiators.
If you are thinking of reducing your carbon emissions by installing a ground source heat pump with under floor heating, do ask for more information. Whilst staying here, guests are very welcome to look at the heat pump and heat store at Treworgey.
In September 2007 we installed a Proven 6 kW wind turbine. Disappointingly, we were unable to install the larger 15 kW one that was planned due to a design fault. Nevertheless, it is very satisfying to see our 6 kW turbine flying around on a cold windy winters day, knowing that we are generating our very own electricity and further reducing our carbon emissions. The wind turbine was our most expensive and long term investment. We don’t expect to recoup our investment for around 15 to 20 years.
Because we installed our turbine in the early days, we are not able to claim the government feed in tariffs that all new turbine owners can apply for. Treworgey’s turbine has been installed 300m up the hill on the windiest part of the farm, two fields away, behind the cottages. The blades are connected to the generating head. The electricity produced is passed down the cable underground to the inverters that are housed outside the farmhouse. The inverters convert the electricity so that it is compatible with the mains. The electricity then passes from the inverters to the main meter in the farmhouse, which feeds two other cottages and the office.
We normally use all the energy produced plus obviously more from the national grid. When on occasions like a windy summer day, we are producing more than we need, the surplus passes into the national grid. The wind turbine compliments the solar PV well because most of the energy we generate from the solar is in the summer, where as the turbine tends to work best in the winter, especially in stormy weather when we need lots of energy for heat, a time when the solar panels are not producing. The mains single phase supply we have here at Treworgey is currently incompatible with a larger turbine which requires a three phase supply.
In 2012 we planned to install a larger turbine. However, we have not found a suitable turbine currently that produces enough power to justify upgrading our transformers, yet is visually low impact and quiet enough not to spoil the peace and quiet that we greatly value here at Treworgey. We certainly hope to find a low impact suitable turbine over the next few years and install it (subject to planning).
In our experience, Solar panels used for heating water have proved to be a very effective form of green energy.
In 2004 we installed banks of solar black plastic mats on the bank beside the swimming pool to reduce the huge amount of oil that we were burning to heat the pool. They made a big difference on sunny days in summer, but on average did not make a significant difference overall.
So in 2007 we invested heavily replacing the mats with glass solar tubes. For those who don’t know about solar thermal - Inside the glass tubes are metal collectors within a vacuum. These tubes can get hot enough to fry an egg on sunny days and are still very effective on cloudy days. Solar thermal is particularly effective for heating a pool as the evacuated tubes heat large amounts of water from low temperatures.
We are delighted with the results but did have some teething problems with our heat exchanger.
In 2012 we have installed more solar evacuated tubes beside the pool at Treworgey and plan to install more each year for the cottages.
Cornwall is recorded as being one of the best counties in the uk for capturing the power of the sun.
In 2012 we installed our first Solar pv systems at Treworgey and Coombe. In the past, we haven’t found Solar pv to be viable in comparison to solar thermal. This has changed now the government have introduced incentives to help reduce the long payback period. We had planned to install far more solar pv in 2011. However we need to upgrade our transformers to do this, which takes months and requires very large investment. As the payback for solar pv is now very long term due to reduced incentives in March 2012, watch this space! We are pleased so far with the performance of our systems at Coombe and Treworgey.
For those who don’t know about Solar PV – here is Linda’s very simple unscientific explanation! Panels convert the sun into electricity – which is fed via inverters into in our case, our cottage meters. Any surplus electricity generated, goes into the national grid. The panels are set on South facing rooves or in our case fields, to capture the most sun at the most advantageous angle to the sun. The more sophisticated ground systems, change the angle to the sun depending on the time of year. For instance in the winter, the sun is much lower in the sky, so the panels are set more towards vertical. In the summer, the sun is higher and the panels are set in a more horizontal position.
The disadvantage of solar pv is that it is not very productive on cloudy or rainy days – and obviously not of any use at night! It is much more productive in the summer than in the winter.
Biomass District Heating System
Our biggest project yet was launched in 2013 – the installment of a district biomass heating system that provides all the hot water and heating needed for all the cottages at Treworgey. This includes a 200KW boiler which heats a closed system of water that travels around all the cottages via underground pipes. At each cottage there is a heat exchanger to extract the heat. The installation, which was run mainly by Bevis, was an enormous project – by far the biggest and most expensive that we’ve done yet. It took several months and that was after the huge amounts of preliminary research and planning largely done by Linda.
At the time of writing the boiler is running on locally sourced wood chip but we hope to convert to our miscanthus, home-grown here on the farm, in January 2017. Miscanthus takes a few years to establish before it can provide a good crop but once established, it will keep re-growing without a need for re-planting for up to 20 years and is a good crop for fixing nitrogen back into the soil. We are looking forward to being self-sufficient for all our heating and hot water needs at Treworgey in the near future!
Our biomass system is made possible by the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. At the time of our project, this was only available for businesses but since then, they have introduced a domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. If you are interested in putting in a biomass boiler at home to make the most of this scheme, we would be delighted to chat to you about our experiences. Talk to Linda, Bevis or Holly.
We are hoping to put a smaller log boiler at Coombe to heat the three cottages down there.
Recycling and Composting
All of our cottages are provided with recycling and composting bins for your use during your stay. At the moment we have recycling facilities for all card, paper, plastics, glass, and cans.
We have large composting bins by the muck heap, just across the lane from the entrance gates that lead to the recycling bins and the riding arena, for all raw kitchen waste. All grass cuttings and horse manure are used to mulch our garden shrubs and young trees, which also helps to save on watering in drier periods.
While here, fill your own bottles with natural water from our own borehole instead of buying bottled water, cheaper and a lot better for the planet.
We use recycled stationary. We recycle all used batteries and printer cartridges.
Wood for our log burners, fires and fire pits are seasoned for over a year and are from necessary thinnings in our local woods. Mostly our own woods – which means no or very little transport.
Offset your journey
As part of our green policy we invite you to plant a tree at Treworgey to offset your journey down and your general carbon footprint. If requested, we will plant this for you in our woodland during the planting season. If you prefer you can bring your own broad leaf tree with you and give it a home in our woodland here at Treworgey.
We encourage our staff to car share where possible and to make multiple use of any journey made. Most of our staff live locally and two usually walk to work. One often rides her horse to work!
Cyclists and car free walkers are encouraged at Treworgey and we will even pick up your luggage and you from the train station (if you come via our local Sandplace station.) Please give us plenty of warning of times.
During your visit you can also leave the car and make use of buses and trains, which can be an adventure in themselves. A ten minute walk through our bluebell wood will take you to the charming halt at Sandplace on the famously scenic Looe – Liskeard branch line. During your visit, you might like to have a look at Transport Direct. It is a great web site that lets you plan a journey by public transport.
We actively encourage our guests to use local attractions and places to eat - especially our Treworgey local organic shop and Treworgey’s yummy home cooked meals cooked here on site at Coombe Kitchen.
We have always recognised our duty as caretakers of the wildlife and flora that share the farm with us, and recognise that we are as dependent on these as they are on us. To promote flora and fauna at Treworgey, we make the following efforts:
- On our miscanthus crops, we use no pesticides or fertilizers other than manure
- We’ve brought pesticide use to an absolute minimum (whilst maintaining quality) in our gardens
- We’ve created headlands around miscanthus fields to promote wildlife
- We sensitively maintain our hedgerows to promote wildlife
- We choose garden plants that encourage bees and other insects
- We protect our woodland by fencing it off from livestock to avoid erosion and building footpaths to avoid walkers causing erosion or disturbing wildlife.
Treworgey is part of a thriving local community, with particular needs. We try to take part and be a positive player in our local community in the following ways:
- Employing local people: our team of approximately 30 people are all local, thanks to our policy of advertising in local shops and publications
- Using local suppliers: the vast majority of our suppliers are within a 10 mile radius; we want to support the local ecnomy and promote employment and help money to stay in Cornwall
- Each year we sponsor our local village ale and cider festival: a great community gathering that promotes local producers. This in turn raises money for village projects, such as the recently-built skate-park.
- Most years we put together a staff team for the Looe raft race, which raises money for local charities.
- Every year we give away a 3 nights holiday for two with a 3-course dinner in a charity raffle in aid of a local cause. This year we raised over £500 for the Looe branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Association, which is vital for coastal safety in our local area.
- We welcome students from our local equine college (Duchy) for work experience in our riding school and have run several apprenticeships for Duchy students in recent years (in gardening and equine work). We have been thrilled with the progress of these students during their time with us: their development in terms of knowledge and confidence has been incredibly rewarding.
Treworgey has an incredible team of people with a vast range of skills, and we are immensly proud of them. We strive to include staff in decision-making, and to act on their ideas, and this has resulted in a close-knit and committed team. We offer workers support that goes beyond their wage packets, providing really flexible hours for those who need them (such as parents), and working hard to provide employment all year round in an industry that is very seasonal. This is rewarded by the fact that many of our staff have been with us for over a decade (one for 40 years!).
What our guests have to say
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