To celebrate Green Tourism Week (4th-10th November), Independent Hostels UK (IHUK) have teamed up with the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) to highlight businesses with the Green Tourism award on the Independent Hostel Guide website and in the 2014 guide and to encourage businesses with an Eco outlook to consider applying for GTBS grading.
Read more here from IHUK
Some responses to questions from us here at Thorney How:
What motivated you to go down the “eco” route?
This has always been something that we have been keen to do. Having spent a lot of time in the natural environment it seems a straightforward step to want to care for it in whatever way we can too. We’ve always sought to choose eco options, in our domestic and working lives from growing our own food where we can, to always using green energy solutions and providers.
What has been the biggest change you have made to your accommodation?
Thorney How is a grade 2 listed building, we have spent much of the last two years since we took Thorney How over from the YHA consulting with professionals, attending courses and generally researching the eco options that are available to us. As an older building some of these options do not make much sense, and we are limited with our grade 2 listing from many structural alterations, including replacing the single glazed windows and installing solar panels.
Some form of heat replacement was the only real sensible option. The building does get cold and is draughty (high winds outside) in winter and our current night storage heaters are both expensive to run and woefully poor at delivering the right heat at the right time.
Our first task was a new drainage system at the front of the property in 2012. Then after a 4 month build programme we commissioned our new Biomass Boiler in April 2013. The new boiler uses sustainable wood pellets in a very efficient system that generates hot water for both showers and central heating. We have had to completely reinvent the wet system for the building, this is itself a big and messy job. Currently this is now working for the newly refurbished bunkhouse and will be extended to the main house this winter.
What do your customers think of your green credentials?
Many of our guests have commented on our use of electric bikes, the car charging points, the LED lighting and recycling points as these are the more visible interventions around the building. Several have been on mini tours around the new wood pellet boiler. But in the main sustainability does not feature highly in travellers choices at the moment.
This does surprise me still, all too often guests do not display behaviours that are consistent with nurturing the environment that they are here to enjoy.
We actively encourage guests to adopt sustainable choices when they visit us, to consider their use of energy in the building, in recycling their waste and in considering their travel options. We can only hope to encourage more people to build eco awareness into their travel lifestyles.
3 June 2013 / Guests
Congratulations to us! Thorney How, Independent Hostel Grasmere is a 2013 Certificate of Excellence Winner courtesy of Trip Advisor and our recent guest reviews,
Trip Advisor say this about their award: The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.
To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.
Recent Trip Advisor reviews include the following:
“I stayed here with a friend the first week of May for two nights. Staying in the barn, we weren’t expecting much, but were instead greeted with an awesome location, beautiful building, very friendly staff and a newly renovated, clean and modern facilities. Can wholly recommend, and I shall certainly remain a regular visitor when on Adventures in the Lakes.”
“It’s years since I’ve stayed in a hostel and I wasn’t much looking forward to this trip but I have to admit, I was most impressed. The owners were very friendly and helpful (despite us returning on day 2 with copious amounts of wet goretex coats and hiking boots etc). The whole place was spotlessly clean, the breakfasts set us up well for a day in the fells and the evening meal was substantial and very tasty. Excellent beer and wine available too … Always a bonus!”
“Thorny How was more than we expected, beautiful location, comfortable rooms & lovely breakfast. We stayed for an evening meal & were not disappointed with the meal or surroundings including log fire!! We were put up in room 3 so had a whole room to ourselves, the room was clean & warm, with comfortable beds. Lovely location to get out and explore the area or on an evening enjoy reading by a roaring fire. The family are easy going and eager to please. We really had a perfect time here.”
James Thurlow certainly has a mission. In support of JDRF – a charity which funds research in Type 1 diabetes, James is running the Coast to Coast long distance footpath, east to west as fast as he can.
See how fast here: http://www.howfast.org
A recent guest booked into the hostel for a one night stay in the wintry conditions of last weekend. He asked for an early checkout, as with all guests we usually try to find out a little about what brings them to Grasmere and what they are hoping to achieve during their stay.
James’s story was an unusual one. James is planning to run the Coast to Coast, Wainright’s popular long distance path. As we are one the main outdoor visitor’s accommodation providers in Grasmere and located right by the Coast to Coast route we get a lot of walkers beating a trail to our door.
This year it is the 40th anniversary of the publication of Wainright’s Coast to Coast guide, so we are expecting more and more unusual activity this year. See The Wainright Society.
James himself has type 1 diabetes and is a regular outdoor sports event participant and runs his own business Open Adventure promoting Adventure Racing in the North of England and the rest of the UK.
You can help support his project to support research in Type 1 diabetes by donating to JDRF via the Just Giving page
His run from Grasmere to St Bees on Monday is recorded here
We wish him the very best of luck and we hope to see him again as he passes by in June.
Thorney How has just been added to the The OpenChargeMap. An international creative commons project providing a global, open and public database of electric vehicle charging locations.
See the Open Charge Map here
Our two new Electric Car Charging points are now ready to provide eco friendly, sustainability conscious visitors to the Lake District the option of driving an electric car.
Linking with the Go Lakes Drive Less, See More Campaign alongside our Electric Bike Hire we’re hoping that visitors will think more about how to reduce their travel carbon footprint.
Ptomolomy entertains one of our guests whilst heading off to walk up Easedale Tarn.
Posted back to us by one of our Facebook friends, thanks Michael:
Ptolemy on one of his adventures in late July. He wanted to join us on a walk up to Easedale Tarn – here he is about half way down the track towards the Easedale Road, but he would have stayed with us further if we let him.
A great photo, the other two cats Remy and Luna rarely venture far from the garden, or even the sofa!
On their day off from their UK tour, our Georgian guests find time for some rehearsal in an unusual location and an impromptu audience. We love the acoustics and the dog barking at the end.
“Sakhioba were visiting the Lake District and after a walk through the hills from Grasmere we came to Rydal Caves where they sang. We gathered our audience on the way – mostly a school party from Swindon who were staying in a hostel at Coniston.” David Burbage, http://www.lakelandvoice.co.uk