Field with corn growing in it. Blue skies and trees at edge of the field.
Black cockerel and brown hen in field near bird feeders
Yellow Etta Bio Mass Boiler with door open

Living closer to nature than we ever have before has made us think more about how we can be more sustainable. There’s been real change in the climate since we moved to Appleton. Wetter and wetter winters and springs, followed by drier summers. This year, the local farmers have really struggled to get harvests planted in waterlogged fields. It brings home how things seem to be changing at pace.

We’re continually looking at ways to improve our sustainability at the Long Barn and in our own lives.  We’re not pretending we’re perfect but are working to take as many sustainable steps as we can. For example, we’ve just switched from organic corn for our hens to waste grain from Yorkshire Organic Millers just up the road in Spaunton. We already buy organic flour from them for our bread. Let us know if you’d like to buy a bag of bread flour when you stay with us. It’s used by the best local bakers as well as many national bakers.

Our aim to make the Long Barn as energy efficient as we can. The big contributor to this is our biomass boiler, powered by wood pellets and heating the entire site. It’s important to us that guests feel warm and toasty when staying, so whilst we set it up for timed, we want guests to have the freedom to warm the barn as they want. But we do re-set all timers and temperatures between guests to be as efficient as possible. We use LED lights in both barns, and have a Quooker hot water tap which uses less energy than traditional kettles.

Recyling bins full of rubbish
Blackboard showing produce sale in the village
Village produce exchange with tables and a trolley full of plants

We have been thinking of how we can encourage guests to travel as little in their cars as possible when they stay here. So, we promote the many and varied walks from the door.  Many guests whose cars don’t move from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave. We are a cycling accredited business by the North York Moors which means that we provide additional facilities of bikes guests bring. We also link guests in with local companies for bike hire whilst they are here. We have struggled to find a suitable company to provide us with electric car charging.  Hopefully we will be able to get chargers installed in the coming months.

We will be installing water butts on the site to capture as much rainwater as possible. The garden is deliberately planted to survive with minimal watering; we plant drought tolerant plants that can survive with no additional watering. And each year Jackie grows more annual flowers and vegetables from seed. Jackie is also involved in the Appleton Produce Exchange which allows swaps of plants, crafts, foods etc. It’s held once a month through the summer and guests are more than welcome to come along to it.  In fact, the first one of the year is this Sunday; look out for a post on social media.

Encouraging guests to recycle whilst on site is important to us; we also recycle rubbish between guests to make sure it is sorted correctly to our council rules. It’s not our most favourite job if we’re honest, but it does minimise the rubbish going straight to landfill. We are cautiously optimistic about the plans for Simpler Recycling announced today, including collections for food waste. We tried to recycle food waste from guests in a “hot box” a few years ago but unfortunately the system couldn’t cope with the amount of food waste. So food waste collections could be a positive step forward.

Ecover refillable bottles of cleaner to show recycling in action.
Solar panels on a flat roof at Roost Coffee.
Painted Homestead Kitchen sign on a stone wall

We’re also trying to reduce waste further on site by buying more and more supplies in bulk. All our Ecover cleaning products are now bought in bulk so that we can refill bottles.  From the start, all toiletries have been bought in bulk from Bath House with refillable bottles. We’re now pleased that they now provide aluminium rather than plastic bottles to refill.

If you follow us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter, or regularly read our blog, you’ll know that we believe in championing local businesses, especially those who are sustainable. This hopefully reduces ours and guests carbon footprint, as well as supports the local economy and promotes responsible tourism.

Leading the way are Homestead Kitchen with their focus on sustainability and how they support their community. They also have some great tips on their web site for how their customers can be more sustainable in their own homes. Another great local business is Roost Coffee. If you’ve stayed in the Long Barn, you will have sampled their coffee beans. Roost have just relocated their roasting operation to a new site where they can roast their coffee using renewable, solar energy.

You can read the full details of all we do sustainably in our digital welcome guide. Which also contributes to lowering the amount of paper that we use at the Long Barn.