Living Green

Living Green at Longlands

The Longlands’ mantra is Unplug, Reconnect, Revive. We want our guests to put down their gadgets and engage with each other and their surroundings so that they return home refreshed, revived and with perhaps more appreciation for the beautiful place in which we live and the need to keep it that way!

In 2015 the Sustainable Business Clinic undertook an Environmental Performance Review of Longlands against each of Bioregional’s 10 One Planet Living Principles.

One Planet Living is a positive vision of a world in which we are living happy, healthy lives, within the natural limits of the planet — wherever we live in the world — and we have left sufficient space for wildlife and wilderness. Real life examples show that this is possible.

Below are our commitments to each principle and plans to further improve. We are custodians of our land. It is ours to enjoy for a short time and we fervently believe that it is our responsibility to do all we can to protect and improve it so that we pass it on in even better condition than we found it!

1. Zero Carbon – Making buildings energy efficient and delivering all energy with renewable technologies

We are practically self sufficient in our energy production at Longlands: Our Solar PV array generates enough electricity to meet the electrical requirements of our low level LED lighting and single socket in each lodge, plus the fridges and freezers in the Larder shop.

We use locally sourced wood for our wood burners and our eco friendly firelighters and briquettes are supplied by a local company, The Good Fuel Company.

The lights in the Larder shop have sensors so that they switch off automatically when there is no one inside and the freezer and all three fridges are switched off when out of season.

A biomass boiler to provides heating to our house and office. Pellets are sourced from a local supplier.

One day we hope to install a wind turbine to meet all the electrical requirements of our home as well as our business and ensure we generate electricity on windy as well as sunny days!

2. Zero Waste – Reducing waste, reusing where possible, and ultimately sending zero waste to land fill

To reduce packaging waste we bulk buy cleaning materials and food.

We recycle all cardboard, plastic, tin, glass and paper and our garden waste makes compost for our kitchen garden.

We try to make good use of everything we can: the mobile homes that we inherited with our site were at first used for storage but have now become chicken houses for a local farmer!

3. Sustainable Transport – Reducing the need to travel, and encouraging low and zero carbon modes of transport to reduce emissions

As Longlands is sited in a rural location, travel by car or bus is essential. To reduce the overall amount of car travel once guests are onsite we encourage guests to leave their car in the car park and walk down to the lodges to minimise pollution and noise levels near the lodges.

We provide comprehensive information in our Lodge Information pack and the Longlands Large Book of Adventures on all local public transport networks including numbers for local taxi and minibus firms to keep car usage to a minimum, particularly when in large groups.

Nearly all our provisions are bought locally, thereby reducing the transport footprint of goods and services.

4. Sustainable Materials – Using sustainable and healthy products, such as those with low embodied energy, sources locally, made from renewable or waste resources

Longlands is committed to using local and upcycled materials. All tea and coffee is sourced from ethical suppliers, and beers and ciders in our Larder shop are locally brewed.

We use Ecover products for all our cleaning and purchase in bulk from Ecover Direct, with the exception of our furniture and leather polish which is made in Devon by Stones.

Our cushions, tea towels and many of the homewares in the Larder shop are made locally of sourced from ethical and green companies such as Nkuku and Garden Trading.

The Safari lodges themselves were all locally made just over the Devon border, in Wellington. The wood burners in the lodges are also made in Devon, at Crediton. The cabin bed, bathroom cabins and sink unit are all locally made by craftsmen. The living and dining furniture in the lodges is vintage or antique, and locally bought. Some furniture, such as the old apple crates, have been repurposed for use as bedside tables, shoe storage boxes and wood storage boxes.

The materials for the lodge blinds were purchased through Cool, Calm Collected, a local interiors shop in Barnstaple. The cushions and tea towels were printed locally in Stoke Rivers, by Lucy Wakefield of Old Favourite and our range of natural aromatherapy products in the bathrooms is hand made by a friend, Mary Boyne, in Padstow.

Even our tracks and paths use locally sourced sustainable construction materials: the hard core from a demolished hotel in Ilfracombe and the top gravel is the old tarmac from Combe Martin high street!

5. Local and Sustainable Food – Supporting sustainable and humane farming, promoting access to healthy, low impact, local, seasonal and organic diets and reducing food waste

We have a menu of food for guests to order from and have an on site shop so guests do not need to travel to buy food.

We have developed a robust ethical food purchasing policy using local suppliers. We are totally committed to supporting the local economy. Here are some examples:

  • Our potatoes, onions and carrots are grown in Braunton and fruit is from Pat Norman’s in Ilracombe.
  • All our meat is raised, butchered and sold from Bess Hill Farm Shop, six miles away.
  • Our pies and pasties are made by Chunk of Devon in Ottery St Mary, 30 miles away.
  • Patisserie tarts are made in Combe Martin, four miles away.
  • Ice cream is made in South Molton, 20 miles away.
  • Jams and chutneys are made in Barnstaple by Brendon Hill Crafts.
  • Chocolates and marshmallows come from Nutcombe Chocolates in Dunster.
  • Soft drinks are all made by Luscombe Organic Drinks.
  • Beer is from Exmoor Ales and cider from Sampford Courtenay near Winkleigh.
  • Crisps are Devon-grown and made by Burts.
  • Nuts and olives are sourced from Olives et al in Dorset.
  • Tea and coffee comes from DJ Miles in Minehead. Their tea is blended in Minehead and coffee is roasted in nearby Porlock.
  • The house Champagne is supplied by Bray Valley Wines in South Molton, while the cellar range is from Bin Two in Padstow. It includes three Cornish- produced wines.

We encourage guests to buy from local farm shops or Combe Martin or eat in local pubs and restaurants rather than shop at big supermarket chains. We provide details in our lodge information book.

6. Sustainable Water – Using water efficiently in buildings, farming and manufacturing. Designing to avoid local issues such as flooding, drought and water course pollution

To reduce water usage our loos have a half flush system and we offer showers rather than baths.

Sewerage is dealt with by our own sceptic tank and soak away system, specified by the Environment Agency to minimize pollution to the Combe Martin beach which has now earned a Blue Flag award.

7. Landuse and Wildlife – Protecting and restoring biodiversity and creating new natural habitats through good land use and integration into the built environment

We take care of our 17 acres of land with lake, steam, woods and meadows.

Before we built our lodges, and as part of our planning application, we undertook an ecological assessment to ensure we were not going to negatively impact any endangered species.

We have streamside walks and nature trails for guests to enjoy.

We sew wildflowers and bulbs around the lodges and plant indigenous trees and shrubs.

In our shop we stock a variety of nature kits so children can learn more about the local environment in which they are staying.

We have plans to extend the nature trails and provide more information about the wildlife surrounding the lodges and we will be planting many more bee-friendly plants for our neighbour’s bees to gather nectar from so we have a good supply of honey to sell.

8. Equity & Local Economy – Creating bioregional economies that support equity and diverse local employment and international fair trade

We are part of an interdependent community. We buy local and support local businesses.

Every member of the Longlands team is local and we value them as both colleagues and friends.

We encourage our guests to see the local area, use local businesses for their adventures, buy their food locally, ideally from small independent shops and enjoy the culinary creations of our local pubs and restaurants.

We also support local businesses by offering a small range of locally made homewares: cushions, cards, candles and photographs.

9. Culture & Community – Respecting and reviving local identity, wisdom and culture; encouraging the involvement of people in shaping their community and creating a new culture of sustainability

We support a number of local charities and make annual donations to organisations that help protect the local environment including Surfers against Sewage, North Devon Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust and the RNLI.

We plan to encourage our guests to support these good causes through voluntary contributions or a suggested donation that is added to their bill.

In the Longlands Large Book of Adventures, there are suggestions for local trips, such as Exmoor Zoo, to visiting the nearby towns of Lynton and Lynmouth to Lundy Island, an island of Special Scientific Interest, surrounded by England’s first Marine Conservation Zone

In terms of natural heritage, Longlands looks directly onto Exmoor, which is one of the best places for stargazing in the UK, according to the Campaign for Dark Skies, and has been designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe.

10. Health & Happiness – Encouraging active, sociable, meaningful lives to promote good health and well being

The essence of Longlands is to provide a restorative and relaxing stay, coupled with the opportunity for outdoor adventures. To highlight this philosophy guests are given all they need to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

There is a library in the Larder shop with a collection of classics and local authors and books for children and teenagers, as well as board games and cards. We also have numerous books about the area and its history, along with maps, walks and cycle routes.

From a comfort perspective, the bathrooms house a range of natural aromatherapy products while the beds have White Company Egyptian Cotton bed linen, hypoallergenic duvets, pillows and mattress toppers, to ensure guests have the best night’s sleep possible.

Outdoor activities that promote health include a football field and rounders on the lakeside meadow. There is also a cricket net and boating. Outdoor games include petanque/bowls and badminton, all of which can be played in the lakeside meadow. There is a football area with its own goal.

For rainy days, there is a covered area with table tennis, giant Jenga and badminton and a basketball area. There is a large space underneath each lodge that children can play in. In the Longlands Large Book of Adventures there is a long list of great rainy day adventures in the local area.

Summary

We were delighted that so many of our Living Green endeavours were recognized within the Environmental Performance Review:

“Sustainable considerations have been an integral part of the business plan. These considerations have been recognised by TripAdvisor, who honoured Longlands with the Platinum Green Leader Award. Longlands is to be highly commended on its management approach for the entire site, and the manner in which it communicates its aims and philosophy to its patrons. Longlands is also energy-aware and some of the business’s proceeds are donated to local environmental charities.

Consequently Longlands already encompasses the 10 One Planet Living principles in its daily trading, and the report will reflect this. Longlands is also ideally placed to educate its guests on everything from local purchasing to biodiversity via its handbooks and glamping courses.”

In line with this suggestion you can expect to learn a little more about Living Green from a stay at Longlands!