Updated: Jul 4
Sustainable travel is on the rise, rightly so, it is the way to go. There are a number of green emphasis travel operators, not only our own fabulous Sawday’s, but newcomers like Byway Travel and Responsible Travel too. There are also many wonderful sustainable destinations to visit and places at which to stay. The Isle of Wight, being a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and with its unique assemblage of species, is an amazing place to enjoy a green holiday. And on the Island, The Granary is a green as it gets.
We do plenty here at Manor Bottom to reduce our carbon footprint and to create a biodiverse space on our seven acres that benefits wildlife and humans alike. We have two small woods, one planted ten years ago by the previous owner that is maturing beautifully - we call this Dorothy’s Wood – the other, Ella’s Wood, planted two years ago by my daughter and me. The former consists of 260 odd trees, the latter of 120 native trees all of which have taken and are growing strongly. Other areas we give over to rewilding, wildflowers are free to grow, or bramble and nettle are allowed to predominate. We compost our waste ourselves and we use bush waste to create areas of protection and habitat for the little things in life, whether they be shrews, voles, slow worms or stoats (you can see a list of the wildlife we have at Manor Bottom here). We feed the birds every day, and, arachnophobes be prepared, we don’t brush away spider’s webs from around the outside of The Granary. Any spiders we find inside, we carefully transport them outside, find them a nook, giving them a chance.
The property itself is powered by solar PV and an Air Source heat pump and is so well insulated with sustainable wools you hardly need the heating on much anyway. We give a 10% discount to anyone arriving without a car and 5% to those with an electric vehicle (as many of you do - note we have an on site charger). If you haven’t yet managed the upgrade to an electric car (as we ourselves haven’t yet – we are saving up!), then we have your carbon covered as we plant a tree, on the property, for every set of guests that stays at The Granary (you can read more about that here). This tree planting goes some way to cover any energy used by anyone making the seamless train journey from the mainland too, and if you book on Trainhugger they will also plant a tree for you. The short hop from Shanklin to The Granary can be kept green by booking with E-Taxi.
We are full of ideas of as to how you can get around the Island without using your car, whether you are on bikes, see here, or prefer the buses (run by Southern Vectis, also working hard to lower their emissions). You might also like to take a look at the Slow Travel guide which suggest many sustainable ways to enjoy the Island.
We also do our best to promote green businesses on the Island and to encourage our guests to reduce the carbon footprint by shopping locally. There are some amazing sustainable food producers on the Isle of Wight who you can read more about here. Many Island companies are now world famous for their innovation and we are proud to champion them whenever we get the chance. Rapanui, for example, are the model of circular and sustainable clothing. Some days I realise I am pretty much head to toe in their gear – there is simply no sensible reason for me to be otherwise. Artecology are another organisation that are doing great, innovative things for the sake of biodiversity and climate both on the Island and beyond. There are many other companies too: The Isle of Wight Distillery, The Island Refillery, as well as many others. Search them out before you get here.
We are not perfect; we have our sins, it’s difficult. Sadly the home barn at Manor Bottom is lagging behind The Granary in its green credentials somewhat, but we are doing all we can, despite the fiasco of the government’s Green Grants scheme, to put this right. We are using all the spare money we have to insulate the place and so far have managed to reduce energy use on heating (from oil) significantly. We are looking at ways to replace this energy dependency totally, but we are a little time away from that yet. Any innovative ideas or suggestions would be gratefully taken.
So, whenever you decide to take a green break, we are here with a green welcome for you all.
In the meanwhile, a few green classics:
Got to start with this really, Big Yellow Taxi.
Then this: After the Goldrush
And my favourite: Nothing but Flowers