Eco camping in the Sibillini Mountains, Italy

This forest hideaway is a real eco paradise for campers in the mountains of Italy…

750m up and nestled high amongst the trees of Italy’s Parco della Fessa natural forest, the Forest Camp campsite is ready to share its love of eco-responsible culture through outdoor activities and experiences.

Forest Camp, Italy

Everything on the farm-based site is geared towards living a more sustainable lifestyle with campers offered the chance to take part in some great workshops and excursions such as hiking, mountain biking and donkey trekking (no motorised transport here!). A nearby lake also offers the chance to hire kayaks or pedaloes.

This small, friendly and peaceful campsite has room for regular tents, caravans and campervans, and also offers the chance to stay in a Native American-style tipi. The tipis are equipped with beds and bedding, plus basic gas and electricity supplies, and the use of a shower.

With a farmers’ market nearby and barbecues allowed on site, there’s no excuse not to prepare at least one meal of locally-sourced food to enjoy al fresco!

The surrounding area

This beautiful protected area is ideally located for exploring Monti Sibillini, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, and many medieval villages. The campsite is around 40 minutes from the sea.

Recommended for… Those who love a bit of wild camping (but with some basic amenities thrown in!)

Be aware that… The site is small and peaceful and not for those who want lots of bars, shops and restuarants on their doorstep

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable living
  • Eco-friendly workshops and activities offered
  • Located in a protected natural area, home to a wealth of wildlife

 

For more information visit the listing on Pitchup.com via Forest Camp, Smerillo

Buy a piece of luxury eco resort The Baymen, Belize

Nestled in the jungle of Belize, lovers of luxury are being offered the opportunity to grab a piece of paradise at a brand new eco resort…

The Baymen Luxury Decking & Plunge Pool

For those looking for a holiday investment opportunity (and if you’ve a few hundred thousand burning a hole in your pocket), new eco resort The Baymen Lodge and Spa is now offering its range of suites for sale. Buying a suite in this boutique eco retreat, currently in development, also gives you 30 days a year personal use of the hotel or Belize Ocean Club (part of the same group). The developers are predicting the suites will generate a high rental yield each year.

The Baymen promises high spec luxury that makes the most of Belize’s beautiful natural assets, and a retreat that aims to be as carbon neutral as possible. Located in 1,000 acres of private rainforest the deluxe suites and larger residences boast luxurious features such as infinity pools and plunge pools, private showers outdoors in the rainforest, four-poster beds, generous outdoor and indoor living space all designed in an old world colonial style, plus a stunning waterfall and natural wine cave in the grounds. Goodtrippers is predicting that holiday makers will be queuing up to stay here for some eco-friendly R&R!

The Baymen Luxury Suite Bedroom

The resort will be run on a combination of solar and hydropower, with water sourced from rainwater and the natural springs on site (springs which once served the ancient Mayans!). The vast majority of buildings are constructed using locally sourced, sustainably harvested wood. The roofs of the main buildings and individual hotel residences are made from local palm fronds, harvested locally three days before or after the full moon. All trees felled in the development are used in some form or another in either construction or in powering the site via the biomass generator.

Prices of the deluxe suites and larger residences range from US$230K – $460K. For more information visit www.thebaymen.com or contact Wolf Wörster Associates Inc on freephone 0808 169 6526.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Responsible water management – use of natural springs and rainwater; filtration and reuse of waste water
  • Solar and hydropower energy generation
  • Local and sustainable timber and other responsibly sourced natural materials used in construction
  • Reinvestment into the local land and community to help the local economy

 

The Baymen Pool

How to have a truly green holiday in the New Forest

If you go down to the New Forest woods today, be sure of a big surprise… From treehouses that float above the forest, a bedroom suite where even the TV is pedal-powered, and a fleet of whizzy electric cars – this is how to have a green holiday!

[gdl_gallery title=”Forest” width=”125″ height=”110″ ]

The beautiful forest, pasture and heathland of Hampshire’s tranquil New Forest National Park is a firm UK ‘staycation’ favourite – and the eco accommodation on offer makes it an even bigger draw. Goodtrippers loves…

The Treehouse Suites at Chewton Glen

Young or old, who doesn’t love sleeping in a treehouse? Located in the grounds of luxury hotel Chewton Glen (voted Conde Nast’s Most Excellent Hotel), these luxurious tree houses are up on stilts giving the impression of floating above the forest canopy. Each suite has floor to ceiling glazing offering magnificent views of the surrounding area.

With a hot tub on the deck and an outdoor covered area, these suites offer a secluded and romantic setting. Each treehouse is equipped with a compact kitchenette, and a breakfast hamper is delivered to your suite daily.

Suites come in various sizes and layouts: choose from Treehouse Studio Suite, Treehouse Loft Suite, Treehouse Hideaway Suite, and the Private Treehouse.

For more information and booking visit www.chewtonglen.com

Cottage Lodge Hotel

You can’t be a couch potato in the activity-filled New Forest – even the TV in this eco-friendly boutique hotel is powered by an exercise bike! The award-winning, eco chic Cottage Lodge is located in the New Forest village of Brockenhurst. Guests can stay in a room built from New Forest Douglas Fir, including the four-poster beds, and enjoy the award-winning ‘New Forest Breakfast’ where all produce, from the yoghurt to the tea, the mushrooms to the sausages and eggs, are sourced from the New Forest area.

Heating and hot water is powered by a wood burning stove and solar panels. Low-energy LED lighting is used throughout, and the flush toilets use harvested rainwater.

For more information and booking visit www.cottagelodge.co.uk

Get around with a Twizy

When you’re looking out for New Forest ponies, you may spot another mobile addition to the New Forest landscape – the UK’s first fleet of Twizy electric cars. With a comprehensive network of charge points throughout the New Forest, they’re a great eco-friendly way to get around the National Park quickly (and if your cycling legs need a rest).

Also, those arriving a Brockenhurst train station can hire an electric van to transport their luggage to their accommodation while they take a bike and enjoy a more leisurely journey to their destination.

Visit www.thenewforest.co.uk for full details and to book.

 

Explore Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago with Song Saa Foundation

Join the new ‘Journeys of Change’ tours to find out how the Song Saa Foundation is making a positive impact on the people and places of Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago

Fancy an unforgettable trip to Cambodia’s southern coastal region? The Song Saa Foundation, an initiative of the luxury eco resort of Song Saa Private Island, has launched a new programme of fascinating tours in this generally undiscovered region. The ‘Journeys of Change’ tours allow visitors to get first hand experience of the Foundation’s charity projects across the Koh Rong Archipelago.

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The region itself is a beautiful mix of palm-fringed beaches, coral reefs and dense tropical rainforest, all home to a vibrant range of animal and marine life, and indigenous Khmer communities. The Song Saa Foundation runs a number of charity projects in the region to improve the lives of local people and help protect precious species and habitats. On a four-day ‘Journeys of Change’ tour, visitors can see exactly how these projects are making a positive impact in Koh Rong, while using the luxury eco resort of Song Saa Private Island as their base.

Accommodation on the tour

All tour bookings include a four-night stay in a Jungle Villa in Song Saa Private Island (twin share), complete with private pool and sea views. The tour price also includes all drinks and meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There are several opportunities during the tour for guests to spend some time at their leisure and enjoy the spa and water-sport facilities on offer. The multi award-winning luxury resort is considered a leader in sustainable tourism due to its continued commitment to reducing waste and energy use, recycling and reusing wherever possible, and being fair employers that support the local community and local livelihoods. (You can find out more about their sustainability credentials here).

Tour itinerary

Day 1: Boat transfer from Sihanoukville; welcome drinks at Song Saa and introduction to the programme

Day 2: Introduction to Khmer words and customs; island safari around Koh Bong and Koh Ouen; Khmer fishing village encounter including participation in an education workshop with the Foundation’s youth environment group, the Song Saa Sea Turtles

Day 3: Boat of Hope Voyage – join the monthly outreach programme visiting communities across the archipelago to offer clinics and deliver nutritional support. Lunch will be a special picnic on the beautiful 5-mile beach.

Day 4: Guests can pick a morning and an afternoon activity from the following: Marine conservation encounter (help the work of the conservation team in the islands’ marine reserve); Rainforest conservation encounter (work alongside Foundation staff as they survey the surrounding rainforest); Garden to Plate cuisine experience (learn the art of sustainable food growing and Khmer cooking); The World is Your Basket (learn how to make a traditional Khmer basket).

Day 5: Spend the morning at leisure or taking part in one the activities listed above; boat transfer back to Sihanoukville.

Dates, prices and booking

The four-day tour costs £980, which includes accommodation on a full-board basis, speedboat transfers, and all charity project excursions and activities. Tours take place 16-20 of each month in June, July, August and September 2014. For booking and further information visit www.songsaa.com or email: reservations@songsaa.com. For full information about the Song Saa Foundation and its work visit www.songsaafoundation.org.

Recommended for… Those looking to get involved with charitable projects in Cambodia, but who only have limited time

Be aware that… Flights to Cambodia are not included in the tour price

‘Good’ credentials:

  • 100% of tour fees go towards continuing the charitable work of the Song Saa Foundation in Cambodia
  • Stay at a leading sustainable eco resort
  • Join and support marine conservation, rainforest conservation, and community charity projects
  • Tour groups kept to a maximum of 10 people to ensure minimal impact

 

(Please note: Google Marps marker is only an approximate indiction of location)

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The ‘super eco’ barns for holidaying in North Norfolk

This complex of cottages and converted Victorian farm barns in Norfolk offers some of the most ec0-friendly luxury accommodation available in Britain…

In the wilds of the North Norfolk countryside, near the market town of Fakenham just a few miles from the heritage coast, sits the ‘flock’ of Cranmer Country Cottages – ‘flock’ due to the cute naming of each self-catering cottage; choose from ‘Coot’ (sleeps 2), ‘Tern’ (sleeps 4), ‘Wagtail’ (sleeps 4), ‘Owl’ (sleeps 4), ‘Woodpecker’ (sleeps 5), ‘Swallow’ (sleeps 6), ‘Avocet’ (sleeps 6), plus ‘Garden House’ (sleeps 6).

[gdl_gallery title=”Cranmer” width=”115″ height=”110″ ]

Family-friendly accommodation and facilities

Whichever cottage you choose you’ll be treated to stylish, contemporary interiors, whether the cosy one bedroom ‘Coot’ or the larger 3 bedroom cottages. Each is kitted out with eco-friendly, energy-efficient facilities (kitchen, washing machine etc).

And children, from babies to active kids, are positively encouraged with an outdoor fenced play area (visible from each cottage), two all-weather tennis courts, a timber playhouse, solar panel-heated swimming pool, fully-stocked games room and lots of safe outdoor space to run around and play games. Cranmer are also more than happy to provide child-friendly extras such as bed guards, booster seats, baby listeners, baby baths and steam sterilisers. To make your holiday even more relaxing they can also provide food delivery and baby-sitting services!

Things to do

This is rural Norfolk so you can truly get away from it all and explore the wilds of the coast or countryside. Guests are encouraged to enjoy the open spaces around Cranmer – staff regularly post notices of wildlife spots (many areas of the surrounding Home Farm are managed to preserve local wildlife). A stay here requires at least one trip to some of the award-winning beaches (Wells-next-the-Sea, Holkham, Blakeney, Salthouse, Sheringham) along the heritage coast not too far from Cranmer. North Norfolk is perfect for cycling, walking, bird-watching and exploring the coast, plus the area is awash with top class country pubs serving locally-sourced food and local ales.

Strong eco credentials

The site is a mix of renovated Victorian farm barns, and new build cottages and the owners have gone to great lengths to create a ‘super eco’ site which goes above and beyond the regular eco-friendly credentials of much green accommodation. This complex of cottages uses 100% energy from its own on-site renewable energy sources including a wind turbine and solar panels. The new builds boast heat-saving Argon-filled glazing, underfloor heating and very high levels of insulation, while all of the cottages are fitted with low-energy lighting, water-saving devices and energy-efficient white goods.

A commitment to sustainable living is evident throughout Cranmer, including Home Farm which houses the holiday complex. Staff encourage guests to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible, and local businesses are used and promoted wherever possible.

Recommended for… Those who love the truly rural, wild outdoors.

Be aware that… Although there are a number of small towns (with pubs, shops, restaurants etc) within easy driving distance, this is a rural area so not for those wanting busy nightlife on their doorstep.

For prices, availability and booking visit www.holidaycottagecompare.com

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Installation of 20KW wind turbine
  • Use of green electricity supplier Ecotricity for imported power when needed
  • 40KW solar panels on south facing slate roofs
  • 16kw heat pump with in-ground installation 80 meters below ground
  • Installation of energy saving under-floor heating in new cottages
  • Argon filled glazing installed in the new cottages to minimise heat loss
  • Very high levels of insulation in all barn conversions and new build Garden House
  • Energy saving lighting systems and light bulbs in all cottages
  • Exterior lighting set on PIR system reducing light pollution at night
  • Installation of 80m borehole and UV water treatment system
  • Installation of irrigation system fed by our borehole to water tubs and hanging baskets – timed to irrigate early morning and evening
  • Communal laundry provides energy efficient gas powered tumble driers at a nominal charge – monies go towards an ongoing tree planting programme
  • Toilets are fitted with flush restricting devices to reduce water consumption
  • New larger cottages are supplied with energy efficient washing machines and line drying facilities
  • Swallow cottage Rayburn converted from oil to electricity with instant switch on and off. Now powered by the wind turbine.
  • Composting facilities in place
  • Recycling and waste management – glass, metal, plastic, paper and card
  • All timber FSC sourced and where possible locally grown e.g. oak cladding and structural timber
  • Recycling of building materials i.e. bricks, slates and timber and use of lime free mortar as original buildings
  • Swimming pool water and air temperature heated by Calorex heat exchange unit – maximising energy use
  • South facing solar panels heat pool water in summer and supplement heating throughout the year
  • Pool water treated with UV and salt chlorination system reducing the amount of chlorine in the pool water and reducing the amount of chlorine pumped out as waste on to the land
  • Guests are supplied with eco friendly cleaning and washing supplies
  • Locally sourced welcome hampers and fair trade tea and coffee
  • Recycled chlorine free paper toilet rolls. Bio cleaning products reducing dispensing of harmful surfactants into water course
  • Staff share lifts to work
  • Local purchasing and promotion of the local farm shop in Walsingham, local bakery in Fakenham and local pubs and restaurants
  • Converted two existing cottages – Swallow & Woodpecker heating systems use alternative green energy sources of a ground source heat pump and solar panels
  • Good quality carbon neutral accommodation in the three converted Victorian barns
  • Sponsorship of the local community nature reserve at Sculthorpe Moor –part of the Hawk and Owl Trust

 

Please note: Google Map does not indicate the exact location

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A log cabin retreat in Fort William, Scotland

Don’t let the rustic exterior of this private log cabin fool you – it hides a contemporary interior complete with state-of-the-art facilities…

Self-catering cottage Acorn Lodge, a bespoke log cabin located on its own site near Fort William, provides a special base for outdoor types wishing to explore the stunning surroundings of the Western Highlands (you’re two miles from Ben Nevis, 16 miles from Glencoe). Created using local timber, you can’t help but feel a sense of adventure when you access the eco-friendly lodge via its own wooden walkway and bridge over the river.

Facilities

The lodge is open-plan and all on one floor. The two bedrooms – one double (with a handmade wooden kingsize bed), one with bunkbeds – each have their own external door so guests can come and go as they please. A large balcony allows you to enjoy the stunning natural scenery. A wet room includes a state-of-the-art sauna complete with a CD player and surround-sound!

For winter stays, you can feel cosy thanks to the underfloor heating. You can also expect the usual amenities of a self-catering cottage – kitchen with cooker, washing machine and dishwasher; plus TV and stereo for when you’re not out and about climbing a mountain or two!

Around Fort William

A short 5-min walk from Acorn Lodge and you’re in the small town of Fort William with plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants. The area attracts climbers, hikers and other outdoorsy types so you won’t be stuck for tour operators offering plenty of ways to explore this area around Loch Linnhe. And don’t worry if mountaineering isn’t your thing – you can always discover other Scottish delights such as a tour of the Ben Nevis Whiskey Distillary (hic!).

Recommended for… Hikers, climbers and those who can’t get enough of the stunning Scottish scenery

Be aware that… You can park your car at Acorn Lodge but there is then a short walk over the walkway and bridge to reach the cabin.

For more information, prices, availability and booking, visit Sykes Cottages at www.sykescottages.co.uk

 

Competition: Win a stay at Britain’s Best Beach

Imagine waking up to this view every morning for a week…

Rhossili Bay ©CCSpCW

The beautiful Rhossili Bay, in Wales’ Swansea Bay, has been voted Britain’s Best Beach by TripAdvisor and was described by the poet Dylan Thomas as “very near nowhere”. And you have the chance of winning a week’s stay in this glorious secluded coastal spot.

As part of the 2014 centenary celebrations marking the birth of Dylan Thomas, Visit Swansea Bay is running a competition to win a week’s stay in the National Trust owned, four-bedroom cottage, The Old Rectory – the only place in Britain with the country’s best beach as its front garden! Located on its own in this beauty spot, the cottage is the perfect base to explore the Gower Peninsular.

All you have to do to enter is share three words to describe your favourite place in Swansea Bay – take a look at the website, www.visitswanseabay.com, for inspiration and to enter. Get your entries in by 29 June 2014.

Good luck!

Wormshead ©CCS (Rhossili)

 

Longhorn Farm, Devon – perfect for big get-togethers

This stunning luxury eco property has ample room so no excuse not to book a huge get-together with family or friends this year!

Longhorn Farm, in the Dartmoor village of North Bovey in Devon, has been renovated throughout and oozes contemporary eco style. An awesome raised ceiling and glass walls ensure this home is flooded with light and offers an uplifting stay whether it’s summer or winter.

Sleeping up to 14 guests across the main house and converted milking barn, the self-catering property is set in 58 acres of land including 20 acres of ancient bluebell woods, lakes, waterfalls and wildflower pasture. It gives plenty of opportunity for guests to enjoy their own space, allow children to play freely and then convene in the large communal living areas at Longhorn.

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Accommodation

The main farmhouse has four bedrooms; two king-size double rooms with en suites, plus a twin room and a zip-and-link bedroom which can either be arranged as a twin or super-king double as required. The twin room and the zip-and-link room share a shower room. The adjacent milking barn has a king-size room plus a bunk room on the ground floor (with shared ground floor wet room), as well as a master king-size bedroom on the first floor with en suite. Each of the seven bedrooms are peppered with stylish touches throughout.

Facilities

Families are more than welcome here with cots, highchairs and a safe garden all available. Wifi and iPod docks are also present throughout. Hang-out in the garden with the barbecue on sunny days or gather around the fire pit to toast marshmallows on cooler evenings.

On request, you also have the option to book in-house caterers, spa treatments and welcome hampers full of gastronomic goodies.

The surrounding area is a walking paradise with Dartmoor National Park to explore, plus quaint Devon villages and the coastline.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Underfloor heating via a ground source heat pump
  • Solar panels also provide power
  • Water supplied via natural spring

 

For more information, including prices, availability and booking, visit Unique Home Stays at www.uniquehomestays.com
 

Eco chic at the new Riad Sapphire, Marrakech

If you’re looking for a super stylish city break this Spring, the Riad Sapphire boutique hotel in Marrakech is now open…

This luxurious new hotel boasts oodles of eco chic along with its gleaming and tasteful decor – and at Goodtrippers we can’t wait to be sipping a fresh mint tea from its stunning roof terrace! Described as a modern twist on colonial chic, Riad Sapphire combines classic Moroccan architecture with plenty of space and light. But it’s the hotel’s responsible tourism ethos that it really impresses.

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The owners, Barbara and Beryl (who have already overseen the successful opening of two other hotels in Marrakech under the Chic Riads brand), are proud to have employed only local, highly-skilled artisans in the design and build of Riad Sapphire – a process that barely used any electricity due to materials being delivered to the site via donkey, and craftspeople creating woven fabrics, plasterwork and woodwork by hand (take a look at this video of some of the extremely skilled Morrocan woodturners). Continuing its commitment to alternative energy use, solar panels are now in place to heat the riad’s water, the spa and hammam, and the larger than average swimming pool.

Accommodation

Riad Sapphire has eight suites, one with a spectacular domed ceiling, and another with a modern pyramid roof. En-suite bathrooms are stocked with organic toiletries sourced from responsibly-run companies in the local area.

Food

Local people are employed in the kitchens to create some delicious delicacies for guests. It’s worth noting that your breakfast bread will have been baked at a local bake house that is heated by the hammam, that in turn is powered by wood shavings (from local carpenters) brought to the bakery by donkey. Now that’s low carbon – if not quite low carb!

Facilities

Relax in the spa, traditional hammam or swimming pool. Alternatively, kick back in the one of two dazzling marble courtyards or take in the city sights from the roof terrace.

Special offer: Riad Sapphire is offering a fantastic 50% discount on bookings from now until 31 August 2014 (min. 3 nights; does not apply to extra beds), so no excuse not to treat yourself! Visit www.riadsapphire.com for booking and more information.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Solar panels heat the riad’s water, spa, hammam and swimming pool
  • Minimal electricity used in hotel’s construction
  • Local people employed
  • Organic toiletries in bathrooms
  • Other responsible companies and tourist attractions recommended to guests, including the local organic perfumery

 

New eco glampsite opens in Wye Valley

Fans of vintage caravans, campfires, wild swimming and stunning views should get themselves over to the Wye Valley as a new glamping site opens this month.

Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans is a boutique campsite set in a pretty wildflower meadow with views of the Black Mountains. Guests can choose one of four vintage caravans – quaintly named Gertie, Elsie, Darcy and Gloria (“the girls”!) – that date from the 1930s to 1960s. Each caravan has been lovingly restored and fitted with period details such as vintage crockery and fabrics.

[gdl_gallery title=”Mad” width=”115″ height=”110″ ]

Owners Jo Pilkington and Sacha Morley met through their children’s school and found they both shared a love of the great outdoors, vintage style and simple, natural pleasures such as camping under starlight, wild swimming and toasting mashmallows over an open fire.

Food

On arrival, guests are greeted with a scrumptious homemade cream tea, but after dark the main draw becomes the communal campfire where campers can come together to cook. If that’s not your thing (or if the weather gets the better of you!), you can order up homemade meals to enjoy back at your caravan.

Facilities

The ‘shower block’ is made entirely from upcycled materials and is located in a pretty copse nearby with hot water on demand. The whole campsite uses an eco-composting system, and guests are offered organic products free of charge.

Things to do

The glampsite is a tranquil getaway from town and city life so great for family adventures, yoga or writing retreats. Tennis courts are nearby and a wealth of activities including swimming, walking, pony trekking, climbing and canoeing in the Forest of Dean which owners Jo and Sacha are more than happy to help organise for you.

This season you can also join two foraging weekends – May 10-11 and October 11-12 – with “the Carluccio of the Wye Valley” (so says the Guardian) Raoul Van Den Broucke. Raoul will take glampers on a foraging walk to look for wild delicacies which will then be cooked over the campfire back at the site.

The 2014 season runs from April 11 to the end of October.

For booking and further information, visit www.maddogsandvintagevans.co.uk

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