Our ethos at North Bradbury farm has always been to support the environment that we all inhabit in the most sustainable way we possibly can. Our children and future generations will inherit our legacy and it is up to us to protect and conserve available resources and try to create a system and lifestyle as harmonious as possible for the planet and ecosystem that is our home.
When we started converting our derelict farm buildings into holiday accommodation, twenty years ago, we decided to recycle and re-use building materials as much as possible. Stones collected from the fields were used to build new exterior walls. Oak posts from old buildings were used for lintels and off cuts were cut down for staircase spindles and newel-posts. Second hand scaffold-boards were converted into floor-boards, door-frames, work-tops, window-cills and stair-cases. All internal doors were bought from architectural salvage yards and doorways were constructed to fit them. We used lime based mortar and render/plaster wherever we could and minimised the use of cement and plasterboard. We even managed to re-use the original cider press as a structural archway, despite protestations from building-control. The end product of our labour of love is a cozy, comfortable and contemporary place to enjoy family friendly farm holidays. The fact that so many of our regular guests have been returning every year for more than ten years means that we must be doing something right.
Re-cycling of waste materials has always been paramount to our lifestyle. Full facilities to re-cycle glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, tin and aluminium and old batteries are provided and guests are encouraged to feed vegetable scraps to livestock, bones to the dogs and compost other food waste. In twenty years we have sent nothing to landfill sites. Our compost/dung heap, including leaves and lawn mowings, goes through the dung spreader to fertilise the ground. Spot treatment of pernicious weeds is done with a knapsack sprayer.
Having no mains water supply to the farm means we have developed a very efficient system of treating and distributing our own borehole water which guests are encouraged to drink, rather than buying bottled water. Rainwater is harvested and used on gardens, vegetables and window boxes, with surplus surface water going to the duck ponds before the river.
Our 12kva PV system generates daytime electricity to run fridges and freezers and the sewage treatment system during the Winter and the pool circulation pump during the Summer. Electric fencer units are either solar powered or run off old car batteries. The water for the swimming pool is heated through a system of solar matting.
All of our appliances and boilers are ‘A’ rated and the tumble-drier in the guests utility room is on a pound coin meter.
Linen is all washed, dried and ironed at home with the warm wind and washing line doing much for free, so no ‘laundry miles’ are created.
Children ( and adults ) are encouraged to have as much contact with our livestock as possible whilst remaining aware that nearly everything ends up in the farm shop, eventually! We have never claimed or aimed to be a petting farm……
We grow and harvest our own firewood to supplement our farmhouse heating and my ancient land-rover has been converted to run on LPG.
Being environmentally friendly isn’t easy or cost effective. It is, however, essential for the future of the human race. That’s us – and our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren…….