We don’t want to beat people over the head with the eco stick but just give them a gentle nudge!!!
We believe that many (not all) of the environmental problems that we face have practical
hands on solutions within easy reach of most people if the will is there to make
a difference. We know only too well that it’s not always practical or easy or financially
viable to live the way we aspire to but we hope that by setting up the yurts in the
way that we have we are making things much easier for you to have a low impact holiday.
For instance – the hot water for the shower is sufficient if you wash and use the
water prudently but not if you stand under a torrent, contemplating your navel! We
deliberately don’t supply mains electricity because it is not needed. We are enthusiastic
about human waste because it is not waste – it is a useful fertiliser if treated
properly. None of our methods are new or ground breaking but just good old fashioned
common sense. We have pigs to recycle food waste but they also clear the ground
beautifully for tree planting.
Our hope is that when people leave they will take with them simple, practical solutions
that they can apply to their own lives at home (not necessarily buying pigs or building
compost toilets, although that would be great!) We want people to think a little
bit more about the day to day impact of their actions.
Using Local Resources
We have always been interested in environmental issues and passionate about sustainability,
so it is important to us that wherever possible materials for the yurts and buildings
are sourced locally. Matt is restoring a derelict chestnut coppice for a friend,
the benefit of which are two-fold: he utilises fallen timber for building the kitchens,
and bathrooms that would otherwise rot on the ground; the clearing of the dead wood
and brash revitalizes the woodland and re-establishes the coppicing cycle.
Most of the furniture and equipment for the yurts and kitchens have been acquired
second hand from brocantes or charity shops, revamped and re-cycled and even the
human waste is made use of!!
Compost Toilet System
A revelation and all of the guests deposits are carefully composted to remove any
pathogens and then used down at the willow plantation to produce more willow to make
more yurts. We have a policy to sell off our oldest yurt in use each year as this
ensures that our yurts are always in pristine condition for our guests.
Hot Water System
A basic solar system using black water pipes laid on a black background. On a hot
day the water can get very hot. On a cloudy or cooler day there is an alternative
Australian solar hot water system which is much more high-tech and stores the hot
water so that you can still have a hot shower no matter what the weather.
Guests are encouraged to use bio-degradable products in the shower and the kitchen.
When washing greasy pots and pans we ask you to use kitchen towel to remove the worst
of the grease before contaminating the water. All waste water is used in your own
Most of the food waste can be either fed to the pigs or chickens – anything not suitable
should be composted and bins are provided for this purpose.
Rubbish and recycling
Any landfill rubbish goes into black bin bags for LAND FILL. Plastics, metals, paper
and cardboard go into yellow bin bags for recycling and all glass goes to the bottle
bank – again we supply all the necessary labeled bins and bags.
Cycling is definitely encouraged. It is beautiful here and the roads are very quiet
(French drivers actually like cyclists)!! Bikes and a tandem are available for hire.
If you arrive by bike (and look sweaty enough to convince us that you really have
cycled from England or the nearest train station ) then we’ll give you 5% off the
price of the yurt!
Wherever possible we encourage our “yurties” to shop locally. There are many local
producers within easy cycling distance. Fruit, vegetables and eggs are available
from Chez Devalon, and depending on availability, lamb and pork from our freezer.
We have local dairy farmers for milk, fantastic ice-cream and occasionally beef.
A goat farmer for milk, cheese and occasionally meat (they make excellent sausages).
Our local mayor is a trout farmer and you can go and choose a fish right out of one
of his many vast tanks, and an excellent duck and goose farmer is very nearby.
The local small town of Verteillac has a boulangerie, butchers and large convenience
store (known as the Harrods of the Dordogne) along with a newsagents, post office,
bank, bars, and restaurants and the local GP. There is also local wine (red white
and an excellent sparkling white wine) and the popular charentaise drink, pineau
(a blend of grape juice and cognac) available from a producer just outside the nearby
village of Champagne.
Candles are supplied (but more can be bought at the Harrods of the Dordogne if you
need them) but they must be kept contained within a lantern (also supplied). The
kitchen is lit by solar powered lights and there are also decorative (but subtle)
fairly lights!! Wind-up solar powered torches are also provided for you in the yurts.