Wheatland Farm has won GOLD in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012, Sustainable Tourism Category
Wheatland Farm Eco Lodges and Cottage is the 2012 GOLD winner for sustainable tourism in the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012. It tops their run of awards in the Visit Devon, the Devon Environmental Business Initiative and the South West Tourism Excellence awards.
Wheatland Farm's owners, Ian Ripper and Maggie Watson, from Winkleigh, Devon received the award yesterday (22 May) at the national finals, held at Athena, an art deco gem located in the heart of Leicester's cultural quarter. Ian said, "We're absolutely delighted. This is England's top green tourism award and the other finalists were hot competition."
Andrea Nicholas, Director of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, and sponsor of the Award, said "Congratulations to Wheatland Farm! Visit England has told me the Sustainability Award had one of the most entrants of all the categories."
Maggie added, "We're so pleased to win, and also to hear 'green' trumpeted across so many other categories too. We got the top award because we stand out. But our approach, cuttings costs, cuttings carbon and looking after our natural capital, should suit all businesses--and build a better future for everyone. For example, Wheatland Farm, with its own wind turbine, and with solar panels on our latest (and nearly finished) straw bale eco lodge, produces more green energy than it uses. And I'll bet you've never seen a prettier power station."
Ian agrees, saying "We've invested a lot into new thinking and renewable energy. With interest rates so low, money in the bank is wasted. But put it on the roof as a solar panel and it's dramatically cutting the bills and generating income. But it's not just about technical solutions. It's much more about changing attitudes, recycling materials, using less, and still getting more."
Torridge, Wheatland Farm's part of North Devon, has just become one of the government's new Nature Improvement Areas, aiming to really develop a green economy where the environment and people both thrive. It is already within the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Maggie said, "It's a fantastic place to live, and to visit. And when you choose a sustainable holiday you help keep it that way. Tourism can be a real power for good. So where-ever you stay, start asking for sustainability like you expect it! Make your consumer voice heard and help us make sustainability the norm."
The other winners in the category were Hoe Grange in the Peak District, Kelling Heath in Norfolk, Ullswater Steamers in Cumbria and Wheeldon Trees, Earl Sterndale, also in the Peak District.
In the previous 12 months Wheatland Farm also won Devon Environmental Business Initiative's Low Carbon Business Award, Gold for sustainable tourism in the Visit Devon awards and Gold for sustainable tourism in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.
VisitEngland is the country's national tourist board. It works in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors
VisitEngland markets England under the Enjoy England consumer brand in the domestic market and markets England under the VisitEngland brand internationally
About the category sponsors, Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS)
The GTBS is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK. Originally developed in partnership with Visit Scotland, it is now the only certification scheme validated by Visit Britain, through the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT).
The Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2012 celebrate the best of English tourism. They promote healthy industry competition and high standards, helping to ensure England's place as a world-class destination. www.enjoyengland.com/excellence
The 17 categories for the 2011 awards include: Access for all Tourism Award, Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year, Best Tourism Experience, Business Tourism Award, Caravan Holiday Park, Large Hotel (over 35 bedrooms), Large Visitor Attraction (over 100,000 visitors), Outstanding Customer Service, Self Catering Holiday of the Year, Small Hotel of the Year (under 50 Bedrooms), Small Visitor Attraction (under 50,000), Sustainable Tourism Award, Taste of England Award, Best Tourism Event, Tourist Information Service, Tourism SuperStar, and Travel Article of the Year.
About the Northern Devon NIA
The new Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area hosts 35% of the UK's remaining species-rich culm grassland. NIA partners will received just over £700,000 which will be matched against over £3 million of support from public, private and voluntary sectors. See www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/nature-improvement-area/
Devon self catering cottage and eco lodges
home t. 01837 83499, email firstname.lastname@example.org, Wheatland Farm, Winkleigh, Devon, EX19 8DJ.
Photo above: Maggie Watson and Ian Ripper, with their two children George and Euan. Photo copyright R. Howe. This and a wide range of photos available online or on request.