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How to have an (e)cotswolds adventure

Want a getaway with serious eco-cred? If anyone knows how to nail an eco-themed Cotswold adventure it's Chris Burton, owner of the aptly-named Eco Chic Cottages. From amazing farm-to-fork organic pubs and arboretums to eco-aware parks and palaces, see her go-to guide here.

When Chris Burton set up a her two cottage getaways in the Cotswolds she knew they had to be different. With a degree in Environmental Biology (oo fancy!) being Green was top of her list. Fast forward ten years and The Chestnuts and Culls Cottage are pioneering examples of how to do a luxury hol with a conscience. Here she gives us 10 top ways to have an eco-roadtrip (eat your heart out COP 26).

Chris’s 10 eco-gems in the Cotswolds

1. Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park

This eco-pioneering farm in Guiting Power near Cheltenham is great for all the family and protects rare breeds of farm animals, as well as teaching everyone that visits the value of sustainable farming.

2. Daylesford Organic Farm Shop

This farm-to-fork organic emporium is a delight to visit, set in the north Cotswolds in beautiful restored farm buildings. Everything is so exquisitely presented and being sustainable and ethical is at the heart of their business. Eat seasonal dishes at The Trough Cafe or sip a botanical cocktail or artisan coffee at the Legbar.

3. The Ox Barn Restaurant at Thyme Southrop

Just a short walk from Culls Cottage this restaurant is in a magnificent barn, make sure to gaze up at the ceiling when you visit. The food uses wonderful local ingredients and where possible they use produce grown in their own gardens.

4. Cotswold Woollen Weavers in Filkins

This great place is a short drive from both cottages. Generations of shepherds, wool merchants and weavers are celebrated in this wonderful sprawling shop of woollen wonders with the most natural of products.

5. Didley Squat Farm

Yes. it’s on the list! This farm made famous by Netflix in Chipping Norton is Jeremy Clarkson’s enterprise championing local produce and produce from his own farm, You can’t get more sustainable than that.

6. Batsford Arboretum

This incredible Arboretum is not only good for the planet but a visual delight. It has one of the largest collection of trees in the country, there are over 2,850 labelled specimens including about 1,300 different trees, shrubs and bamboo and it has held the National Collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries since 2002. Plus there is a great Conservation Education Centre here too.

7. The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

This great park in Burford is really close to The Chestnuts and it’s a wonderful place for all the family to visit. There is loads to learn here about wildlife conservation so it’s a really eco-eye opening visit.

8. Blenheim Palace

This extraordinary estate has done much to its carbon footprint and also hold a Green Tourism Gold award. It has converted to electric cars, LED lighting and insulated roofs across the estate. Plus it has focused on green renewable energy projects including biomass, solar and hydro power. It is a UNESCO World heritage site and one of the Great Palaces of England.

9. Burford Garden Centre

Only five minutes’ drive (or bike ride!) from The Chestnuts and not just any garden centre but a place to spend a day. The plant selection is tremendous but it also has hand crafted homewares, a café and food and drink emporium that celebrates local produce.

10. Minster Lovell Ruins

You’ll find this pretty English Heritage site just outside of Burford and a short drive from The Chestnuts. Home to the Lovell family since 1440 it now sits in majestic ruins by the River Windrush and is a haven for wildlife. Take a picnic and watch the world go by next to these romantic ruins and dovecote.

Want to know more about Eco Chic cottages? Read on …

The Chestnuts

Chris, your eco-cottages sound intriguing, tell us more?

Our cottages are located in the village of Southrop in Gloucestershire and Shilton in Oxfordshire. We have restored them preserving traditional features but with contemporary luxuries. The stone floors, oak beams and inglenook fireplaces exude old world charm, while stylish furnishings, original art and kitchens equipped for the keenest chef, make them heavenly places to be.

Our bathrooms have drenching showers and double ended baths for a spa-like feel and complimentary wifi keep you as connected as you want to be. They boast underfloor heating, roaring log fires and goose-down duvets to keep you toasty in winter, and private gardens for BBQs in the summer. Each village has a terrific pub within a short walk.

The Chestnuts

What awards have you won?

Quite a few! We have Gold status with Green Tourism. The Chestnuts holds a Bronze Award for its Responsible, Ethical and Sustainable Tourism and both are graded five Star Gold with Quality in Tourism and Visit England. You can stay knowing you are having a luxurious Cotswolds break while treading lightly on the environment.

Culls Cottage

Give 6 eco-credentials the cottages have?

1. We are carbon neutral! With every decision we make we have the environment in the forefront of our minds. We have 100% renewable electricity, LED lighting, A+ rated energy efficient appliances and smart meters that turn down the heating when guests are not present.

2. Both of our heritage cottages are made of traditional Cotswold stone – Culls Cottage dates from 1670 with thick stone walls they are naturally warmer in winter and cooler in summer. We have installed underfloor heating which is a more sustainable form of heating and we line curtains so that heat doesn’t escape in the winter.

Culls Cottage

3. In the brand new garden room extension at The Chestnuts we’ve gone super-eco with features, including a recycled glass product in the foundations and bat and bird boxes into the stone walls of the property as well as insect hotels and hedgehog havens. We are also creating an orchard.

4. If you have an electric car we have a PodPoint and a Tesla charger. Culls Cottage EV chargers are due to be fitted later this year.

5. Our cottages are filled with natural fabrics and products. You can step out of bed in the morning onto a soft sheepskin rug. Others include wood, linen and bamboo. We are trialing mattress toppers where the filling is made from recycled plastic bottles. All the cleaning products and toiletries are eco-friendly and paraben-free.

6. Our motto is reduce, reuse and recycle. We have replaced all of our taps and shower heads with water saving alternatives. Our toilets are modern, dual flush. Plus the eco-cycles on the washing machine and dishwasher cut down on daily water usage. In the garden we preserve water in the ground with the use of mulch and collect water from the roof in water butts – ready to use on our container plants.

The Chestnuts sleeps up to eight in four double bedrooms ( two of them masters). Culls Cottage sleeps up to six in three double bedrooms. Head to www.ecochiccottages.com for more info or to book.

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