Our Green Environmental Story
Kentmere Farm pods commitment to green & sustainable business
We take our responsibility for the environment seriously and have measures in place to ensure that our sustainable tourism venture has minimum impact on our beautiful site here in the Kentmere valley within the Lake District National Park and Unesco World Heritage Site.
Kentmere Farm Pods is a relatively new luxury camping pod business on our traditional Lakeland family farm. We have kept the site small (four pods) to ensure there is very little impact on the local environment. Alongside this, Cowshed Creative offers a programme of high quality arts and crafts workshops is an open plan art studio based in a converted barn. The farm and environment is available for guests to enjoy, take inspiration from and to work out in the landscape, weather permitting.
Before beginning the project, we had already taken steps to become more environmentally responsible and reduce our carbon footprint. We aim to review, improve and update our environmental policy regularly.
The farm is 500 acres and we are proud to be a part of a Higher Level Stewardship and work closely with Natural England. We have reduced flock numbers to allow natural regeneration of heather and sedges in the upland, bringing an increase in wild flowers, including wild orchids, wildlife and bio-diversity throughout the farm. Keeping a very small herd of Belted Galloway cows also helps increase wild flower regeneration.
Our pod folders provide information on our environmental work on the farm, the wild life visitors will find here and some guidance on staying on a farm. We also provide information about the local heritage of the valley; its industries and farming.
We have been involved in a large-scale native tree-planting scheme. We have planted 18,400 trees, over the last two years, which will create areas of deciduous woodland in the long term as well as growing some magnificent parkland trees. It's early days, but we are really excited to be planting trees that will mature for the next generation and provide habitat for insects, birds and animals. Specifically in the field housing the camping pods we have planted a range of native trees providing shade, screen and shelter for birds and other wildlife.
The River Kent, a Special Site of Scientific Interest, runs through the farm. Whilst we encourage our guests to enjoy the river and the animals that live there, we ask them to respect our White Claw Crayfish which is a rare, protected species. We also keep an eye out for alien American Flag Crayfish. In partnership with Natural England & South Cumbria River Trust, we have created a flood plane along a stretch of the farm to stem the speed of the river when in spate, to help reduce flooding in Staveley. We have also blocked up old drainage systems on the higher fell to create natural bogland.
Our pods are made from sustainable larch cladding and we have planted groups of native tree species within the camping pod field to provide animal habitats and shade. We have also planted native hedges to screen the parking area; including crab apple, wild roses, hawthorn, blackthorn and honey-suckle to provide food and habitat for birds and animals as well as along the external boundary of Cowshed Creative art studio. We have a number of bird boxes and feeders in the trees as well as swallow ledges in the barns to encourage the wild range of birds found on the farm.
Our gardening methods have been organic for years and we use our own animal fertiliser, wood chip and compost. We also recycle sheep fleece in the bottom of our garden tubs in order to help retain moisture.
Visitors can gather wild rasberries, blackberries, sloes, crab apples, wild garlic, mushrooms and cob-nuts when in season. We provide a pot of growing herbs for each pod. Apples are available from our orchard in late summer and we plan to sell our own free-range eggs and damson and spiced apple jam.
We decided we needed an alternative renewable energy source and in 2012 we installed 16 4kw photovoltaic solar panels on the Cowshed and in 2014 we installed a 50 KW Eta Wood Pellet Boiler. Both these supply heat and electricity to our pods and our art studio. Any surplus energy is exported back to the grid.
Our four camping pods use low energy LED lights. For safety we have provided 2 Led lights on the patio but we only provide a small solar light marking where the path meets the decking and ask visitors to bring torches in order to avoid light pollution and to keep the sight looking as natural as possible. The pods have fully insulted walls and floors and they are so energy efficient that they are suitable for year-round use. The pods also have curtains and blinds for added efficiency. All our pods contain high-quality kitchenettes, which include efficient A+ rated fridges and microwaves.
All our cleaning products are environmentally friendly and we leave these in the pods for our guests along with Ecoleaf toilet paper. We make bulk orders of cleaning products to reduce road miles and packaging, refilling washing-up and toilet cleaner bottles. We also use Eco washing liquid to wash our sheets, which we line dry. We provide Jay cloths, floor cloths and cloth scourers which we launder. When Jay cloths get tatty we use them for cleaning.
We provide recycling bins and ask our guests to sort their waste into plastics, paper and cardboard, tins, cans and bottles before they leave.
Kentmere Farm Pods and Cowshed Creative have a detailed website, with lots of information about our services and facilities. We advertise this via a number of commercial websites and through social media. The only printed material we have are business cards and a small number of printed fliers that we display in local libraries, cafes and shops. All our office paper is recycled.
Keeping it local
We bought our pods from a local business in the Lyth Valley and employed local people to do the installation and building work. We maintain the traditional stonewalls around the pod field as well as those around the farm using local craft people.
We promote local businesses – shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants – on our website, in our information folders and on social media. We also recommend our guests walk or bike to nearby Staveley and make use of the good range of shops, cafes and pubs there.
We have fire pits and barbecues on site and sell bags of charcoal and wood from local suppliers along with environmentally safe firelighters.
Promoting Low Carbon Activities
We encourage our visitors to walk and bike from the door and provide details of routes for a range of abilities. We also provide links to further routes and Apps. We recommend local bike shops for maintenance & hire.
We are off grid and encourage visitors to enjoy the peace, escape Wifi and phones and make the most of being outside. We also provide a communal cupboard of books and games that visitors can borrow.
Further afield we encourage other low impact activities such as sailing, kayaking, wild swimming, riding, climbing, adventure playgrounds and high ropes. We also recommend visiting cultural places such as galleries, theatre, National Trust properties and local music events.
Within our own creative workshop programme at Cowshed Creative, we promote traditional crafts such as pottery, felt making, woodcarving, weaving using British wool, traditional dry stone walling and basket making. For the later we use some of our own sustainable hazel, willow and grasses. Felt & dye course are linked to the Kentmere valley textile traditions.
Public transport and green alternatives
We provide information about public transport both on our website and in the pod info. file.
Staveley railway station, on the branch line that connects to Oxenholme mainline station is 2 miles from the farm; a 10 minute bike ride or ½ hour walk. The 555 bus service through Staveley to Kendal or in the other direction to Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick
We provide a free parking space with each pod, but charge for a second vehicle to encourage car sharing. We provide towels free of charge to parties who leave their car at home and come via local transport and/or bike. The same applies to those who walk here. Given adequate notice, we also offer to collect visitors from the nearby station in Staveley and buy their pre-ordered groceries. Depending on the time of the year, we offer the opportunity to ride to our pods and keep the horse or pony here overnight.
We encourage the use of bikes by providing secure cycle storage and bike wash as well as information on hiring mountain, road and e-bikes locally.
We have a range of pubs, cafes and shops in Staveley and we actively promote these on our website, on Social media and in our folders in the pods. We also recommend local farmers markets.