Our organic farm
Brunton became an organic farm in 2006, having been farmed by 3 generations of Bridgemans whose knowledge of the land and its historical use made them decide to give the soil a rest from the more intensive conventional farming methods.
Brunton House, Stable Cottage, Mill Race and Brunton Burn now sit in the middle of this organic farm and guests may well notice the huge number of farm and coastal birds, insects, wildlife in general and the wildflowers growing in the grass margins around the fields. We have barn owl and bat specialist boxes sited around the farm and with our hedgerows, ponds, woods and field margins there is a plenty of flora and fauna to look out for.
We consider that farming is as much about conservation as it is about production. We have recently completed a carbon audit of the farm, which benefits from extensive woodland, and overall we are approximately carbon neutral.
Energy at Brunton
We installed biomass boilers at Brunton in 2012 to provide the whole hamlet with hot water and heating. The boilers are run on wood chip, which is sourced from trees we harvest from our woods. We take out old trees that have fallen, have reached maturity, or need to be removed to provide more light and space. By continuously planting oaks and other ‘hard wood’ trees with the fast growing ‘soft wood’ trees, we protect and encourage the hard wood trees to grow to the light and not be battered by the winds. We have a tree planting programme which ensures a ‘crop’ for the biomass, the production of construction timber and long term woodland.
Almost all the lights bulbs in our Brunton holiday properties are now LED, and we have added extra insulation in loft spaces. All but one property has double glazed windows, reducing energy consumption.
We hope to heighten the environmental awareness of our guests and employees by providing information and advice on:
- Biological Sewage treatment plants
In many rural settings the mains sewage system is not available. Therefore the modern ‘sewage treatment plants’ are the miniature option for hamlets like Brunton. Being aware that everything that goes down the drains (bathroom, kitchen or any sink) has to be filtered through the small wastewater treatment system makes us, our guests, and our clean team think very carefully. Bleach and bacon fat, tissues and wet wipes can block and disrupt the system and there is no better way to make us all consider what we are doing, and what we are using, then anticipating the horror of a broken sewage treatment plant.
Signs in bathrooms and by kitchen and washroom sinks should alert guests to this.
The cleaning products provided are British made ‘Ecozone’, with dishwasher tablets and clothes washing liquid also from this company.
- Supporting local businesses and food producersd
There is lots of information on our website and in the online welcome and information folder with a range of superb local suppliers and their details – from activity providers to cafes, chefs to local gardens open to the public.
In creating Brunton House and cottages we made the most of our local artists, auction houses, hardware shops, local tradesman and we greet each set of guests, all year, with flowers from our family garden, not from a supermarket.
- Welcome basket and provisions
Whenever possible we fill our welcome basket with local produce including eggs from our own hens, and honey from the Chainbridge Honey Farm whose hives are kept on our organic farm. We hope that any guest suffering from hay fever will find that local honey helps them!
- Promoting recycling, local public transport, cycling, walking and beach cleaning
The clear recycling signs in the file, on the bins in the house and on the outside bins help to direct guests to the recycling that is possible in this part of Northumberland, which may be different to where they come from.
The Arriva ‘Coast and Castles Connection’ bus X18 from the nearest village of Embleton, and the principal bus route along the coast can take guests to High Newton-by-the-Sea, Beadnell, Seahouses and Bamburgh. We understand that guests need a car to access Brunton, but encourage them to get out and about without a car for a day or two.
We have information about hiring bikes and lots of good maps and advice about cycle routes in the boxes. Many guests come with their own bikes and we are known as being bike friendly, with lockable storage and outside hoses and the famous National Cycle Network’s Route 1 at the bottom of the Brunton junction. There are also plenty of maps for those planning good walks, whether along the coast or in the hills, and details about excellent guides who live and work in this area and are incredibly knowledge. Visit England awarded us ‘Walkers and Cyclists Welcome’ recognition.
The ‘Two Minute Beach Clean’ is a great initiative set up in 2013 and we have now provided our guests with their cotton bags containing gloves and rubbish bags to take to the beach, if they want to help this charity’s aim in such a simple way.
Paper free online booking reduces our paper waste and our website acts as our online brochure eliminating the need for paper brochure production.
We are also supporting the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Association) and encourage our guests to donate any loose change to the charity box. Our nearest Lifeboat crew are based at Craster, just a few miles along the coast, and this volunteer group provide a 24-hour rescue service. They rely on volunteers and supporters, being independent of the Government and the Coastguard.