Being eco-friendly is an ongoing initiative at Pentillie, whether it’s making major changes to the running of the Castle, by installing our own bio-mass boiler, or simple but effective actions such as using low energy light bulbs and retaining heat by drawing the curtains and shutting the shutters!
We do our best to source fresh local Cornish & Devon produce. It minimises our carbon footprint and it makes for tastier food. In fact, many of our ingredients have zero food miles because we grow and raise them here: fresh herbs, apple juice and pheasant (Nov-Feb). In season, we forage as much as we can (including elderflower, wild garlic, samphire, sloes, blackberries and wild mushrooms) from the Pentillie estate. Any food waste is composted and used in the gardens.
Our estate Beef cattle are sold through local suppliers and used in the Castle. The orchard has been replanted with traditional old Tamar Valley varieties of apple and cherry meaning we can press our own apple juice for B&B guests to enjoy.
In 2009, we were lucky enough to persuade local beekeeper, Sue Malcolm, to bring some bee hives to the estate. She has successfully harvested lots of delicious honey from the busy bees who enjoy the fragrant lime avenue, and proliferation of flowers in the gardens.
We do not buy bottled water, but instead chose to install a system where we purify our own bore water and bottle it ourselves. The Pentillie branded glass water bottles are reused and refilled frequently for still and sparkling water instead of supplying plastic bottled alternatives.
During the Castle’s renovation, we installed a new boiler and heating system which increased energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. At the time a bio-mass boiler was out of the question due to the sheer expense, and infrastructure issues at the Castle itself. Luckily, we’ve been able to revisit this form of environmental energy, and in March 2013 we installed a wood-chip boiler. We plan to produce our own wood chip in the future.
During the initial renovation we installed solar panels on the South facing roof. These provide enough heat for the outdoor swimming pool. (We start our sun dances in earnest early in spring to ensure plenty of sunshine for the summer season!) Any excess heat generated feeds into the water heating system. The office and main living areas are heated by wood fires and log burners, using good old-fashioned wood from the estate.
We also replaced the loft insulation and installed loos that use half the amount of water, and urinals that work via a sensor so only flush when used. Because the Castle is Grade II* listed, double glazing was impossible – instead we had curtains made with heavy interlining, installed blinds, and ensured that where possible radiators were not put under windows.
All waste is recycled where possible by a West Country company or composted. Printer cartridges are returned to the suppliers to be refilled. Any waste paper with a ‘blank’ side is stapled together to make message pads!
We encourage new wildlife to the area and sustain those already in habitat. Dead trees are left standing for bats and woodpeckers. No fertilizer or sprays are used on the parkland. Over the Winter we place bird feeders outside the office and kitchen windows to attract blue tits, coal tits, thrushes, robins, goldfinches, long tailed tits and blackbirds, to name just a few.
The latest project has been working in conjunction with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust to encourage Ospreys to nest in the Tamar Valley with the installation of nesting poles and perches. See Blog for more info.
Pentillie is part of Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme, working to encourage educational visits from Devon and Cornwall schools keen to learn about the Castle’s history, the surrounding wildlife, and exploring the stunning landscape for budding photographers and artists.
The major project for the future to improve our ‘greenness’ is the walled kitchen garden. It has not been cultivated for over 30 years, and so there is a lot to be done to return it to its former glory. Thanks to support from Natural England we have been able to restore the walls (summer 2012) and rebuild the last remaining greenhouse during winter 2013. From this new and stable base we plan to completely regenerate the garden so it can provide herbs and cut flowers to augment the supplies required in the castle.
Want to work in the garden, or even project manage its regeneration? Contact us