What is sustainability? A massive question. Can all humans maintain a decent standard of living without destroying the environment?
Welcome to Acorn Glade, a haven nestled in nature where sustainability is taking center stage. We believe that young people are the architects of our future, and it is our responsibility to empower them by embracing sustainable practices. With each passing day, the urgency to protect our planet grows, and we are committed to doing what we can within our power to create a more sustainable business on a day-to-day basis.
As I reflect on the quote, "Small hinges swing big doors," it resonates deeply with our journey at Acorn Glade. We understand that even seemingly small changes can have a significant impact on the environment. In fact, a survey conducted by Experia revealed that 80% of travellers prefer to stay somewhere that actively contributes to sustainable living, while 68% said they would feel more comfortable staying at a property that is demonstrating their statements around sustainability.
In line with these values, we have implemented various changes that have resonated with our guests and left a lasting impression. By encouraging conscious decision-making and inspiring new habits, we hope to instil a gentle sense of environmental responsibility in our visitors. We believe that the choices we make, whether by chance or by conscious choice, shape our collective destiny.
One evening, as we gathered around the fire pit, the warmth of foraged fallen wood enveloped us, we discussed the possibilities for fundamental changes. The resulting brainstorm ignited a passion within us, and a long list of innovative ideas emerged.
First, we bid farewell to individual shampoos and shower gels in plastic bottles, replacing them with a single, large plastic-free alternative that also eliminates microplastics. Similarly, we embraced the notion of eschewing bleached loo roll, kitchen roll, and paper towels, opting instead for recycled paper options.
To tackle the issue of single-use plastic bottles, we now provide chilled tap water in reusable glass bottles, eliminating unnecessary waste. Moreover, we have bid adieu to chemical-covered firelighters, replacing them with recycled wood shavings dipped in wax, promoting both sustainability and a cosy atmosphere.
In our pursuit of energy efficiency, we no longer rely on electric lights controlled by switches. Instead, all our electric lights are equipped with timers and sensors, ensuring they only illuminate when necessary. Additionally, our commitment to renewable energy with 32 solar panels that work in conjunction with an air source heat pump, provide power and hot water to our communal areas.
Throughout the glamping site, solar lighting casts a gentle glow, carefully designed to minimize light pollution and preserve the natural rhythms of our nocturnal animals. By providing curtains or shutters for all accommodation windows, we further reduce light pollution, enabling our guests to reconnect with the beauty of the night sky whist sat out on their verandas.
Our commitment to sustainable comfort extends to all of the accommodation, boasting eco-insulation for optimal heat retention and cooling during summer. Every piece of furniture has been thoughtfully sourced, built, or upcycled with sustainability in mind, creating a unique and eco-friendly ambiance.
Interior decoration and colours are calming and guests will also discover bespoke artwork and creations crafted by local artists, showcasing the talent within our community. The little pop-up shop in the Roost offers locally made products, ranging from hand-spun and knitted gloves to felted hares and jam. Supporting local artisans not only fosters important community bonds but also promotes the sustainable use of resources, such as rare breed sheep's fleece for spinning and knitting.
Beyond the boundaries of our glamping site, we actively engage with the community and local initiatives. We support the forest school program at the nearby primary school through donations and raffle prizes, nurturing young minds' curiosity about animals and wildlife. We encourage guests to participate in the diverse events hosted at the village hall, fostering a warm sense of belonging and connection to the local culture.
Nature is at the heart of Acorn Glade, and our efforts extend to preserving and appreciating the stunning surroundings. The lake teems with aquatic wildlife, including freshwater mussels that diligently filter the water. Guests can enjoy fishing, knowing that their contributions support the maintenance and well-being of this precious habitat.
To emphasize the importance of every creature that calls Acorn Glade home, and we maintain a wildlife visitor list, heightening awareness and encouraging guests to adapt their activities around these remarkable inhabitants. We firmly believe in coexistence and strive to foster harmony between humans and wildlife.
Our beloved alpacas have proven to be both entertaining and sustainable companions. We utilize their fleeces to create rugs for our cabins, ensuring that every part of their fleece is put to good use. The remaining fleece is laid beneath the woodchip paths, acting as a natural weed deterrent, replacing harmful plastic sheeting. Moreover, their eco-rich deposits, rich in nitrogen, are dispersed as mulch, reducing the need for fuel-intensive mowing. As the alpacas graze freely throughout the day, emulating their natural behaviour in South America they contribute to the maintenance of our meadows by foraging the thick grass, creating an enchanting landscape adorned with wild flowers.
Picturesque walks begin right from our gate, and we actively encourage our guests to leave their cars behind. They can embark on adventures by renting our vintage bikes (they are called EEEEH bikes in true Yorkshire) or explore the serene Ings and canal, all while enjoying a delightful picnic in nature's embrace.
Networking, too, plays a crucial role in our sustainability plan. By collaborating with local businesses, we can not only minimize long unnecessary journeys but also support one another in our shared commitment to sustainability. The bonds forged within our community help us collectively make a positive impact on the environment.
This year, we embarked on an exciting experiment of growing flax, (once spun it becomes linen) with the aim of producing hand towels for guest use. This ongoing endeavour exemplifies our dedication to exploring innovative ways to incorporate sustainability into our business as to whether it will materialise (pardon the pun) relies on time.
We acknowledge that smaller, independent outdoor hospitality businesses like ours face different challenges compared to larger hotel chains. However, we firmly believe that guests who prioritize sustainability vote with their feet, actively seeking out providers who share their values. We are dedicated to swinging the doors of sustainability wider, demonstrating our commitment to creating a greener and more eco-friendly sector.
At Acorn Glade, we wholeheartedly believe that sustainability is not just a buzzword but a way of life. We invite guests to join us on this transformative journey, where each choice we make, no matter how small, contributes to a brighter and more sustainable future. Our aim is to enable guests to become part of a passionate community dedicated to sustainable practices within outdoor hospitality and green tourism, leaving a positive environmental legacy for generations to come.