Christina's diary: Easter 2006 – September 2006

18 October 2006
Christina's diary: Easter 2006 – September 2006

Christina Simons, who owns the Cottage hotel in the New Forest with husband David Mascord, has decided to make her nine-bedroom, 250-year-old former forester's cottage greener. So far she's begun by using sustainable products and improved insulation. This is her diary…

Easter 2006

We've started a "leave your car at home" initiative on the home page of our website. It's been a big success. Some weekends 60% of our guests come by train.

June 2006

I've been invited to Caterer and Hotelkeeper's Big Energy Debate with the Carbon Trust at the Dorchester hotel. It was attended by a panel of members of the Carbon Trust,
Hospitable Climates and some large hotel groups. I decided to travel by train.

Some ideas include: wind turbines on roof; recycling paper in room bins; one set of towels and pillows for single-occupancy room; inviting guests to switch off unused lights; and e-mail database for mail-shots. The key seems to be to communicate your environmental policy clearly to guests so it doesn't look like you're just penny-pinching.

July 2006

Today we hosted a photoshoot for the New Forest Breakfast (NFB) to encourage other businesses to join. The NFB was set up by Martyn Evans from Forest Friendly Farming to support local farmers. Forest farmers operate on a smallish scale and products from the forest carry the New Forest Marque. More than 1,000 breakfasts a week are served in the area at the moment.

September 2006

I take over as chair of the local New Forest Tourist Association's Hotels Group and have decided my theme for the two years must include reducing our impact on the environment. I've invited the Carbon Trust to speak.

I've also been invited by the UK Forestry Commission to Franchard Forest, Fontainebleau, just outside Paris, to see the Franchard Inn Reconstruction. The Tourist Office is planning to reconstruct a derelict inn using local materials to create a restaurant serving regional foods. Visitors will reach Franchard on a biofuelled bus from the railway station. The €4m (£2.7m) project will use local wood in the reconstruction. As I walked around nearby Fountainbleau, I was struck by the large number of restaurants offering local produce. The food market there is held three times a week.

* Next week: I find out about wind turbines.

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