We care passionately about the environment and strive, where possible, to use “green” methods for heating, washing etc, The Games Barn is heated primarily by the wood burner with logs from the farm. We have considered solar panels and water generated electricity but at present neither of these are financially viable. However, we use low energy light bulbs throughout the barn, and provide outside washing lines and indoor clothes airers to minimise the use of the electric drier. The white goods are all at least A rated for energy consumption and we continue to consider other ways of reducing electricity.
Both the Games Barn and the farm use recycled rainwater. In the Barn we installed a very large tank in the old silage tip and that takes all the rainwater from the Barn and uses it to supply the toilets and the washing machine. It also tops up with mains water when the tank runs dry (which only happens in drought conditions) which ensures that the toilets always flush! The washing machine has a “reduced water” setting which we keep on at all times and the toilets have a low flush option.
In the farm area we installed a further 3 large tanks in 2009 to provide drinking water for the animals and water for general cleaning out. In 2011 we installed a further 2 tanks for which we secured a Catchment Sensitive Farming grant, and in 2012 we secured a further grant for another tank for the stable block and now have a pump to get rainwater to our adult pigs on the fields and a smaller pump to move water from tank to tank in the yard where necessary. We currently store in excess of 10,000 litres of rain water and our hope is that our barns will provide sufficient water to supply drinking water to all our animals all year around, keeping mains water consumption for the humans only! In 2013 we secured a further grant to install a pasture pump for our cows – a clever device that allows the cows to pump water directly from the stream whenever they need it. We also secured a grant to part fund work needed to fence off the stream (thus protecting the banks from erosion) and this work was completed in 2015.
We encourage recycling of paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, cans etc and provide separate bins for each of these items. We use unsold vegetables, flowers etc from the village and unused food items from ourselves and guests to feed our animals. In 2013, thanks to our local excellent cheese makers Allsop and Walker who use milk supplied by the dairy farmer in Mayfield , we started feeding whey to all our pigs – they love it. We collect 1000 litres every 2 weeks , saving the cheese makers from paying to dispose of it in a landfill site somewhere.
We have been in the Entry Level Stewardship scheme and have now applied for its replacement, Country Stewardship. We have been awarded grants from Natural England and High Weald AONB to provide fencing to protect our ancient woodland , to improve access to our fields, to provide a route from the yard to a muck heap situated further away from the stream and to purchase and install owl and bat boxes in our barns and woods.