We are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme

  

 

 

 

 








A pied wagtail on our barn roof

Weardale is possibly one of England's best kept secrets - it has beautiful countryside and breathtaking landscapes with access to superb outdoor spaces rich in wildlife and flora. We have endeavoured to minimise the impact of Cromer House Barn on this environment. To assist us with this we have joined the Green Tourism Business Scheme which helps tourist businesses operate in a more sustainable way. Our GTBS assessment awarded us a Gold grading.  

Among the measures we've taken so far are installing a wood-burning stove and solar panel to provide heating and hot water via a thermal store. We have also installed a raincatcher system to collect and filter our rainwater, which is then used to supply the washing machine and toilet. Energy saving light bulbs and fittings have been installed throughout, and both the fridge-freezer and washing machine have a Grade A high efficiency rating. All the cleaning products supplied in the barn are natural and biodegradable. We also actively reduce waste going to landfill by recycling our visitors' bottles, cans, cartons, paper and card, as well as composting any raw fruit and vegetable waste, teabags and so on. Our most recent measure was installing PV panels.

In the barn we provide information about how you can contribute to our efforts to 'green' our business during your stay and lessen its impact on the beautiful Weardale countryside. 

We also provide information about our local environment - including the unique moorland, hay meadows and bird life - and guides to help you plan your walks, cycle rides and days out in the surrounding countryside.

 

Looking towards Frosterley from the hills above Wolsingham

When we bought the barn it was close to becoming derelict. It has been re-roofed using reclaimed slate and wood. And reclaimed flagstones, cobbles, and stone have been used in re-landscaping the courtyard. Wherever possible, we have employed local tradespeople to carry out the specialist building, plumbing, electrical and woodwork, and sourced materials locally. 

We've put up bird, bat and lacewing nesting boxes, together with a single bee post. Most of these were made at green craft events at Harehope Quarry, our local environmental education project, where we regularly help out as volunteers. Our garden attracts a variety of bird life - we often spot pheasants exploring the lane by the side of the house at quiet times of the day, and have had pied wagtails, swifts, blackbirds, starlings, sparrows and bluetits nesting in the garden. We've also seen bullfinches, chaffinches, jackdaws and the occasional woodpecker in our garden, and thrushes, robins, sparrows and wrens helping themselves to worms from our flowerbeds. At twilight bats can regularly be seen swooping above the courtyard and we often hear owls hooting from the neighbouring trees. 

To help reduce our carbon footprint we are also members of the Weardale Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme. CSAs are locally run schemes which allow local people to get more involved in the production of naturally grown fruit and vegetables. Weardale CSA rents a plot of land on the outskirts of Frosterley and in 2011 we started working with 12 other families in our village to cultivate the 3 acre site. By 2012 our numbers had swelled to 16 families and we succeeded in getting the whole site under cultivation, as well as planting tree saplings (kindly provided by the Woodland Trust) to create a hedge along one side of the site. Now we have 20 local families growing their own produce, as well as keeping chickens. We grow a range of produce, but do particularly well with potatoes, broad beans, leeks, cabbage, courgettes, pumpkins, parsnips, turnips, swede, blackcurrants, raspberries and rhubarb.

We are always looking for ways to improve our contribution to the local environment and would ask you to help us by doing what you can to be a greener visitor.  Thank you!

We also gratefully acknowledge support from the North Pennines AONB Partnership and Natural England (via the West Durham Rural Pathfinder) in our endeavours to green our business.