Naren and I have always had an interest in the environment and to be able to incorporate some of our ideas into our business is exciting for us. With support from our guests, we can help make and sustain Common House Farm holiday cottages as a green tourism business.
Our first step towards incorporating our ideas was to install a bio mass boiler. We were able to do this with the aid of a 50% grant from Northumberland National Park’s Sustainability Fund, www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk. This replaced the old system of electric wall heaters that had previously provided heat for the cottages. The wood used for the boiler is sourced locally from nearby woodlands, including Kielder Forest.
More recently, we reduced our carbon footprint further by installing two wind turbines, which now provide us with low cost, low carbon electricity for our family and guests - we export any surplus to the National Grid.
Another project which we began early on in our time at Common House Farm was the planting of several hundred mixed hedgerow saplings, which over time will provide habitat for birds, small mammals and insects. As well as the harvest in the hedgerow, we have also erected bird feeders and bird boxes to further encourage birds to adopt Common House Farm as their home. From the local farmer, we fostered some free range chickens who, for much of the year provide us with all the eggs we need. Apart from the wormery which we use to recycle food waste, our only other ‘livestock’ is a hive of around 30,000 bees, which we are currently learning to manage under the instruction of a kind and experienced beekeeper in Haltwhistle. All of this has allowed us to experience a fairly low-commitment small-holding of sorts, albeit on a micro scale.
A more ambitious plan of ours for the future is to own an electrical vehicle and to provide an electrical charging point for our vehicle and any others which may be brought by guests. We hope you that the above will help you appreciate your surroundings more and that you support our green ethos for Common House Farm.