From the outset of coming to Higher Wiscombe in 2003 we set out to “provide the highest quality sustainable tourism at the heart of East Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.
In May and June of 2006 Higher Wiscombe was one of the first Self Catering businesses to be assessed by now nationally recognised Green Tourism Business Scheme, (GTBS).
Over 100 separate aspects of our business were examined and we were awarded a Silver level ward for our efforts towards sustainable Tourism. In May 2007 we were reassessed and achieved Gold status. We were also entered into the Devon Environmental Business Initiative Awards and were runners up in the Sustainable Tourism section in 2006/7. We are also Finalist in the Debi Awards for 2007/8 for Sustainable Tourism and were Silver Medal winners in the Sustainable Tourism section of South West Tourism’s Excellence Awards in 2007/8. The following year our efforts were recognised at the DEBI awards, where we won the Sustainable Tourism Award and the Overall Winner Ward for 2008/9. We have also won sustainability awards from both the FSB and the CLA. In 2012 and 2014 We were shortlisted for a Goldstar Award by the Green Tourism Business Scheme as one of the greenest businesses in the UL. In 2014 we were runners up in the Self-Catering category and were awarded a Goldstar award for our outstanding contribution to green tourism.
In 2015 we were once again winners at the DEBI awards, winning the ‘enjoyed in Devon” tourism category and were runners up to the National Marine Aquarium in the Sustainable Tourism category at the Visit Devon Tourism Awards. We also had our bi-annual grading from GTBS and achieved Gold again, now every year since 2007.
At Higher Wiscombe we are trying to maintain a balance between the environment and community in which we live and providing guests with highest quality self-catering holidays possible. This has been independently verified by the accreditation from GTBS and the various awards that we have won.
Some key areas that we have invested in to minimize our environmental footprint:
- Non chemical bio plant, fed from our own springs and discharges clean water.
- Biomass Boiler for all heating, the cottages, the pool and our house, using local woodchip
- Insulation and double glazing to higher than building regulation standards.
- Low energy light bulbs.
- No chemicals on site, all cleaning done with eco-cleaners and miracle cloths.
- Used recycled and local materials in the restoration of the buildings, local flint and timber, recycled bricks and oak from the original barns.
- Local labour used for the build and the ongoing maintenance.
- Efficient Recycling scheme with dedicated recycling area.
- All food waste, including cooked waste can be recycled.
- We explain in our barns how you can help.
- We have produced a video and an infographic for our guests to illustrate what we do. See our Eco page.
We can work together to make less impact on our surroundings, we ask our guests to do the following:
- Use the recycling facilities, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
- Please try and use as little water as possible. We are on a spring and replenishment can take a little time.
- Don’t turn up the heating and open windows, this is really wasteful.
- Follow the instructions regarding the bio plant, chemicals kill the natural cleaning cycle.
- Buy products with less packaging to dispose of.
- Leave no litter and respect the Country Code. Copies in each cottage.
- Buy local food and services whilst you are here to help the local community that you came to visit.
- Try to use public transport, the Tramway at Colyton, or one of the many boat trips along the Jurassic Coast. Go by train or park and Ride into Exeter and enjoy the wide range of beautiful walks right on your doorstep at Higher Wiscombe.
- Bring your bikes, we have covered bike racks for you to use.
- Take only photographs, leave only footprints.
What do we do?
- We develop our business in as sustainable manner as possible.
- Our land is in the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.
- Our farm is in the RSPB Birdwatch scheme.
- We buy local food and produce whenever we can.
- We recycle our rubbish.
- We keep the heat down in the farmhouse.
- We use logs from fallen trees on our land.
- We don’t use chemicals, even on the farm.
- We help other businesses understand “sustainability”.
- We monitor and manage our energy use.
- We work with GTBS and DEBI to improve how we run our business.
- We use micro fibre cloths for cleaning.
- We have an ethical buying policy and minimise purchase from Countries with poor human rights and companies that do not behave in a fair and reasonable manner.