Combermere is a truly exceptional place, an environmental gem! Its large mere, ancient woodland and historic parkland all form part of a breath-taking natural habitat, rich in flora and fauna. The estate history is almost 900 years old, with a number of historic properties.
At Combermere Abbey, we are passionate about the environment, its protection, enhancement and long term sustainability. We recognise the importance of preserving our environment for future generations as well as making it available to the wider public on a managed recreational and educational basis.
We are continuously striving to balance the impact of visitor based tourism and event business with our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and contribute positively to the wider community. Our team aims to conserve natural resources by ensuring the responsible use of energy, water and materials whilst maintaining and exceeding the expected quality levels of our guests.
Our membership of the Green Tourism Business Scheme is part of our commitment, and we have been awarded a GOLD standard. Our marketing philosophy is linked into other tourism groups and associations who support the GTBS code of practice. These include: EASCO, CLA and Tourism Alliance.
We are taking measures that are reasonably practicable to:
- Adopt a policy of “green procurement” – taking environmental factors into account in all purchasing and supplier contracts using, where possible, local suppliers, artists and retailers, and incorporating organic and fair trade products when available. Guests can also purchase products from our unique Fruit Tree Maze – jams, juices and chutneys!
- Reduce waste at source and recycling paper, cardboard, plastic and glass.
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products where possible, utilising micro-fibre cloths that minimise the need for cleaning products.
- Reduce water and detergent use by weekly washing of bed linen and towels at the local laundry. Guests are invited to let us know on arrival if they require additional linen changes.
- Adopt the practice of responsible and efficient energy management to reduce consumption in all our operations.
- Encourage guests to remain on the estate for a day during their stay, offering places to walk and bicycles for their use. Each cottage has a “Blue Book” of information regarding local walks, cycle routes, places to eat and local markets & festivals.
- We have nature information signs on all walks for educational purposes and a wildlife notice board in the cottage courtyard to record wildlife seen by guests and staff.
- Undertake rain and grey water harvesting for recycling in the Glasshouse, our restored greenhouse and wedding venue.
- Operate a reed bed sewage system for dirty water, and use no chemicals in our Fruit Tree Maze, Walled Gardens and vegetable garden.
- Work with and support our local community and disadvantaged groups in the wider community. We offer tours of the Abbey and Gardens, host countryside and environmental groups, participate in annual flora and wildfowl counts.
- We work closely with our local agricultural college to use our woodland for specific training courses.
- We supply logs for the fires and wood burning stoves from our own estate supply.
- Maintain a non-smoking environment throughout our buildings, offering guests designated outdoor smoking areas.
- Improve the energy efficiency of the listed buildings by introducing secondary glazing and improving loft insulation with natural products.
- We are actively involved with Natural England projects: the HLS scheme, SSSI monitoring, wildfowl counts and water quality monitoring.
- We use recycled or sustainably sourced paper in our marketing material, writing paper and recycle office equipment. We use a central ordering system.
We encourage our guests to adopt 5 small steps with big impact:
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Limit purchases with unnecessary packaging, separate rubbish and use our recycling bins. Report maintenance issues promptly to the Housekeeping team.
- Stay Local, Eat Local, Buy Local, See Local: Enjoy walking, cycling and outdoor activities by staying on the Estate or nearby. Buy souvenirs and gifts from local producers and artists. Support the local economy by visiting local pubs and restaurants, farm shops and eateries. Enjoy the wealth of historic properties, gardens and attractions in Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and North Wales.
- Reduce the Carbon Footprint: Spend a day on the Estate – enjoy picnics, birdwatching, painting, fishing on the mere, walking in the woods, buying from the award-winning freezer menu on site, take a DVD from our complimentary library. Give the car a holiday too!
- Chill Out and Switch Off: Turn off taps, switch off lights and equipment and close curtains to minimise heat loss during winter months, when leaving a room or cottage. Enjoy a moonlight walk through the gardens and adjoining wood.
- Follow the Countryside Code: A reminder to protect & respect the Estate and enjoy its beauty, but do not litter or allow dogs to foul public areas. Respect our dog policy. Leave gates as found and do not stray into areas designated as private and no entry – Combermere is a working farm and it is for your own protection & safety.
We welcome any feedback and suggestions on how we can improve our sustainability and your enjoyment.
What the future holds…
The restoration of the Abbey’s North Wing will include the introduction of water-source energy systems, increased insulation and energy efficient lighting and heating.
All estate cottages have benefited from increased insulation and have a rolling upgrade programme.
Our environmental standards will be annually reviewed and updated, and each year we include an ongoing upgrade of the existing cottages to introduce new technology in our annual maintenance plan.