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Our Green Story : Hoe Grange Holidays
David and Felicity Brown are farmers and providers of multi award-winning, accessible self-catering log cabins and glamping accommodation at Hoe Grange in the Derbyshire Peak District. David has lived on the farm all his life and is passionate about maintaining the local Peak District landscape.
The holiday business was born out of an idea that David’s father had 40 years before, of providing log cabin holidays on the dairy farm. This was rejected by planners at the time, but as milk prices dropped David and Felicity needed an additional income stream and revisited the idea. Planning permission was granted for 2 log cabins in 2006 and so Hoe Grange Holidays was born.
What is exciting about David and Felicity’s approach to the new family business is the way they root their plans and decisions in being environmentally friendly and eco-conscious. They started their eco journey in 2006 becoming Peak District Environmental Quality Mark (EQM) award holders; the award recognises businesses with a passion for the environment, that actively take pride in the Peak District to help safeguard and protect its landscape and heritage. The following year in 2007 Hoe Grange Holidays achieved the Green Tourism Gold Award and have over the last 17 years received several national Visit England Awards for Excellence for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism.
It is evident that David and Felicity are committed to taking an environmental viewpoint when considering their business. They have invested in renewable technologies so guests can relax knowing they are leaving a lighter carbon footprint. Today over 85% of electricity required for both the holiday and farm businesses is generated on site. Hoe Grange’s has a small 10kw wind turbine, both roof mounted, and more efficient sun tracking, solar panels, ground source and air source heat pumps, and a biomass boiler.
While staying at Hoe Grange guests can charge their electric cars for free, all powered by the renewable energies produced on site. The Browns also drive an electric car themselves.
David says: "Yes, it has been a big investment, but we have made a business case for everything - it's not just a ‘green-wash’, it's fundamental to how we operate."
The farm which is managed in an environmentally sensitive way to sustain native species and habitats, and to improve biodiversity. Guests can enjoy the views and begin to appreciate that the countryside looks like it does because it is carefully managed. As a working beef and sheep farm with around 70 cattle and 60 sheep, the Browns make the most of their social media channels to share all aspects of farming life, from lambing, to sheep shearing and silage-making.
The Browns encourage guests to enjoy car-free days during their stay visiting places by bike, such as the celebrated village of Tissington famous for its well dressings, Carsington Water with its nature reserve and historic Middleton Top Engine House. There are bikes to loan for free and 2 electric bikes to whizz up the hills with ease. They also offer facilities for guests to bring their own horses on holiday to explore local bridleways and trails.
The care for the environment also extends to the little things such as, eco-friendly cleaning products, linen laundered onsite and line dried where possible and online accounting to reduce paper. Part of their business ethic is to work with and promote other local businesses, so goodies for the welcome pack to delight guests are homemade or locally sourced. There is lots of information about local events and visitor attractions on the website so guests can plan their holiday.
Guests enjoy a real taste of the Peak District with fresh mineral water from the farm borehole, free range eggs from the hens, and local produce available in the small onsite shop, thus reducing food miles to a minimum. The peace and quiet of the site is perfect for unwinding in the log-fired hot tub or enjoying relaxing spa treatments provided by local therapists in their accommodation.
Providing guests with the means of accessing and enjoying the National Park and surrounding countryside, from the dark skies at night free from light pollution to the peace and tranquillity of being away from roads and close neighbours is all part of the Hoe Grange Holidays experience. The log cabins are wheelchair accessible and there is a wide range of equipment included free of charge and two off-road wheelchairs to enable guests with limited mobility to explore the countryside.
Felicity says: "We love sharing our special landscape - it’s about slowing down, watching wildlife and farm animals, appreciating nature, discovering local history, exploring the countryside and breathing in the fresh air."
Both David and Felicity see themselves as custodians of their area for future generations which dovetails with the Peak District National Park Foundation’s purposes to look after the landscape and help people enjoy and appreciate it. They also support the charity Canine Partners who train assistance dogs giving independence to people with disabilities.
David says: "Guest's reactions constantly remind us how lucky we are to live, work and play in the Peak District - we will never take it for granted."
Find out more about Hoe Grange Holidays’ commitment to the environment here
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