Here at Old Rectory House we are striving to lessen our environmental impact in every way possible. From the way we manage our 8 acres of grounds, our high-welfare approach to rearing our animals, the consumables used in the running of our business and the waste it produces. While renovating our properties, wherever practical we chose to use pre-loved furniture, vintage finds and reclaimed/upcycled items. The green approach is at the forefront of our ethos and we actively encourage all our guests to follow our same principles.
In 2017 we planted 3/4 of an acre of wildflower meadow as a haven for wildlife and pollinating insects. We get deer, pheasants and a host of other animals using the tall grasses to hide and shelter. We subsequently underplanted the meadow with 3,000 bulbs in 2021. When we installed our shepherd huts in 2020 we planted over 500 native shrubs and trees to lessen the environmental impact of the project. The extra hedgerows and trees creates a perfect habitat for wildlife as well as shelter and food for our livestock. We are continually adding new trees to our orchard to achieve a wider variety and extend the growing season (and our pigs are very grateful of all the windfall fruit!)
On our smallholding all our farming practises are high welfare and low intensity. We currently have a flock of Herdwick sheep, Gloucester Old Spot pigs and free range chickens. Our sheep are left to naturally graze outside all year and we keep all our lambs for 18 months (compared to 6 months or less commercially) to give them a longer life and produce a slower growing, tastier meat. Our pigs are kept free range in their own woodland copse. A pigs natural habitat in the wild is a forest so they are really at home here. They spend their time snuffling around for acorns and grubs with the trees providing excellent shelter and shade. Our hens and cockerel have a large, free range area where they are very happy and safe with trees and hedgerows for shelter and interest.
As a luxury holiday accommodation business, we provide our guests with a range of consumable items and products. Wherever possible we source local, refillable, recyclable or reusable goods. All our wood-fired hot tubs, wood burners and fire pits use Hotmax Heat Logs. These are made from the waste dust and shavings from the wood industry which makes Hotmax one of the most carbon efficient, environmentally friendly fuels available. All the toiletries in our shepherd huts and the Coach House are supplied by Bramley. All the bottles are refillable and the packaging is fully recyclable. Bramley products are made from all natural, bio-degradable ingredients. The toilet rolls we provide are supplied by Who Gives a Crap. The toilet paper is made from 100% fast growing bamboo and 50% of the profits go towards ensuring everyone has clean water and a toilet. We supply refillable Ecover washing up liquid which is 100% biodegradable. Even small details in the accommodations like bamboo cotton buds and recycled plastic pens are sustainable.
We love Somerset and champion its produce. Our welcome pack in the properties and the stock in our Pantry shop are (where possible) sourced locally. The apple juice we provide from Herby4 is made by our friends in the next village. We supply tea and coffee from Miles who are based locally in Minehead. We stock the delicious Styles Ice Cream in our shop which is made at Styles Farm just a few miles down the road. All the meat and eggs sold in our shop and used in our meals are from our smallholding, so you can't get more local than that. The definition of zero food miles!
We know our guests are on holiday so we've made it as easy as possible for our them to recycle. We have 3 dedicated areas on site with clearly labelled recycling instructions. Each accommodation has a food composting bin with compostable bags provided. We actively encourage guests to recycle as much as possible while they are here. The homecooked meals we prepare for guests are all packaged in recyclable or compostable containers. The milk we provide is supplied in reusable glass bottles.
With the ever increasing popularity of electric vehicles, we plan to install a charging point in the coming months. We hope this will encourage more green journeys to Old Rectory House. We have recently registered with Green Tourism and are hoping to become accredited soon and learn new ideas and practises for us to further improve our green credentials.
We would like to thank all our guests in advance for their support in helping us to do our bit to help the planet!