Our first holiday cottage was converted from an old cart shed and stables, using reclaimed and sustainable materials. Bricks from the original building were used for the walls, which were insulated with hemp, grown in fields just a couple of miles away, and finished with breathable lime plaster. We used Earthborn natural clay paints on the walls, which, we discovered, were the perfect covering for lime plaster and a delight to use.
The beautiful king post trusses were made from timbers, taken out of an old farm building, and stone slabs were reused as window ledges and a hearth for the log -burning stove.
We insulated the vaulted ceiling with hemp and loft with Eco Wool, (made from 85% recycled plastic bottles) and installed handcrafted, argon filled double glazed windows, made in York, from FSC accredited timber.
For all the building work, we used local builders and trades people and, wherever possible, local suppliers or those with a strong environmental record.
Plans for the whole project were drawn up by York based architects Native, who specialise in sustainable and breathable design.
Our wood pellet boiler provides all the hot water and heating in the Cart Shed. This gives efficient under floor heating in the main living area and the large en-suite bathroom. The rest of the cottage is fitted with thermostatically controlled radiators and heated towel rails.
Logs, for the wood burning stove and the fire pit, come from our own woodland or are locally sourced. Charcoal for the barbeque also comes from a local supplier.
There is super energy efficient LED lighting throughout the Cart Shed.
External lights are operated with motion and daylight sensors so as to limit light pollution; we have fantastic night skies here and we wouldn’t want them to be missed. On a clear night, the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye but we have provided a telescope and guide to the stars for more detail and information.
We have chosen energy efficient appliances (mostly A+ or A++ rated) and will ensure that these run efficiently by testing and servicing regularly.
At present, we use the green electricity supplier Ecotricity. In the future however, we aim to install photovoltaic panels in order to generate our own electricity.
We have provided recycling facilities and information for guests in the Cart Shed. We add kitchen waste to the compost bin in our kitchen garden and cooked food waste to our ‘Hot Bin’.
We have chosen water efficient appliances throughout. Flow restrictors have been fitted to the taps and showers and dual flush toilets have been installed.
We encourage guests to drink tap water by providing a cooled bottle in the fridge.
Our guests are given a plentiful supply of complimentary, eco-friendly products and cleaning materials. We buy these in bulk, mostly from the Hull based company Bio D. Wherever possible, we decant into existing containers.
Recycled toilet paper and kitchen paper are bulk bought from The Natural Collection.
We leave sachets of organic 'Green People' shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser and shower gel in the bathrooms. These products are completely natural and are not tested on animals.
Our complimentary welcome basket for guests contains muesli from The Side Oven, our local organic farm and bakery, and other local Yorkshire produce.
For food items that cannot be sourced locally like coffee and sugar, we buy Fair Trade.
Guests are given an unlimited supply of fresh organic eggs from our free-range hens.
Flowers are provided from our own garden - zero air miles, no pesticides or harmful chemicals.
We are lucky enough to be right in the middle of Yorkshire’s Nature Triangle. There is an abundance of wildlife in the surrounding area and we provide up to date information for visitors about what to see and where to go.
We have taken steps to encourage biodiversity at Swallow’s Nest in a number of ways. The small woodland was planted a few years before we arrived and we have spent many hours removing self-seeded willow, to allow more space for native species such as oak, birch, alder and ash to flourish.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has given advice and support about providing good nesting sites and natural habitats for a wide range of species.
We provide bird books and guides, binoculars for visitors to use and a wildlife diary to record sightings. Guests can top up the bird feeders from supplies kept in the patio garden.
Children can make use of our “Wildlife Explorers Kit” and a camouflage hide.
The Woodland hut was hand crafted by The Yorkshire Hut Company, using traditional techniques and sustainable materials. All the timber is FSC accredited and the wheels are made from recycled brake discs. The hut is insulated with sheep’s wool and is fitted with double glazed windows and a wood -burning stove. It has mains water and renewable electricity provided by Ecotricity.
Water is heated as required by an efficient electric water heater. Water efficient taps and a shower have been installed. There is super energy efficient LED lighting.
Our hut has a state of the art waterless, composting toilet. An integrated fan draws air to an outside vent, eliminating odours and speeding up composting. A Hot Bin completes the process and the compost is used in our garden. There is a soak-away for grey water.
We follow the same environmentally friendly practices for visitors to The Woodland Hut as we do for The Cart Shed.
We are just outside the village of Brandesburton in the peace and quiet of the countryside. Getting to Swallow’s Nest by public transport is not easy. For this reason, we are aware that most guests will arrive by car.
We provide lots of information for guests about public transport, local walks and cycle routes and we also give suggestions for car free activities.
We can provide safe storage for bicycles and have various bike tools and a track pump available.
Bikes can be hired from Beverley Railway Station through the Bike & Go scheme:
As our aim is to minimize our impact on the environment, we have published a Responsible Green Visitor Charter. We hope to encourage our guests to follow the guidelines.