Located just a dog ball’s throw from the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we are keen to do what we can to preserve that beauty by doing what we can to minimise our impact on the environment whilst maintaining high levels of luxury and comfort for our guests.
We have joined the The Shropshire Hills Be Sustainable Buy Local Scheme. This scheme requires us to demonstrate, in a number of ways, how we are being sustainable.
Some things come easily to us, like leaving the paddock unmown to create a rich environment for wildlife, feeding the birds, not pulling up nettles and planting a native hedgerow. We are also lucky to be able to source the most fantastic local food.
Others have been more challenging – like finding a environmental solution to washing laundry that still produces white sheets and recycled toilet paper that is soft enough for our guests. But we’re getting there! See our environmental policy above for more details.
We also like to encourage our guests to help us become more green. It isn’t easy to explore the countryside without a car and we aren’t suggesting guests should go completely car free. So we’ve created a Sustainable Ideas Page to give you some suggestions for helping us out whilst still having a luxurious and comfortable Hopton House experience.
Wildlife and Nature
I’ve always loved birds, plants and animals, so living at Hopton House is a dream come true!
Signs of spring arrive early in January with masses of snowdrops underneath the hedgerows. These are quickly followed by wild primrose, catkins and daffodils, fields full of day old lambs and the sounds of hundreds of mating frogs. Towards the end of March the blackthorn blossom may start to bloom promising hedgerows heaving with sloes in the Autumn. A few weeks later the hawthorn bushes produce more masses of white flowers.
In spring all of our birds start looking for nesting spots. We have all of the usual garden birds but some unusual ones too – barn owls. red kites, bramblings, bullfinches and woodpeckers.
We know we’re into summer proper when the dawn chorus wakes us at 4.00, starting with the chiff chaff’s beautiful song. The swallows return to the barn and the bats flit around in the warm night air. Warmer nights allow you to sit out on the lawn at night and watch some of the clearest night skies in the country. You’ll especially appreciate this in August when you can view the Perseids meteor shower.
At night as you drive along look out for badgers, foxes, polecats and owls in the road. Sit still long enough in our garden and you may see a stoat or a vole. Or sit by the pond and look out for baby frogs, newts or dragonflies emerging from their nymphs.
Autumn is glorious here in South Shropshire. The hedgerows once again come into their own full of hips, haws, damsons, blackberries and sloes. The maples provide us with some fantastic colour with the oaks being the last to change shade and lose their leaves.
Winter is another beautiful season. The leafless trees create stunning silhouettes against dramatic sunsets. The garden birds appreciate being fed and entertain at breakfast. Beautiful frosty mornings demand long well wrapped up walks whilst our oak framed sunroom and log fire welcome you back to enjoy what’s left of the stay from inside.
Hopton House Environmental Policy
The garden is a wildlife rich environment. The fenced pond is our own and full of frogs and newts. The birds use it as a bathing area and for somewhere to drink. It is also a breeding ground for dragonflies and large water beetles and snails.
We have planted native hedgerows to encourage more birds. We leave the paddock un-mown apart from the paths. This encourages a great number of birds such as yellowhammers. We try to avoid using any chemicals in the garden.
The nettle patches provide a wonderful environment for butterflies and we have seen an increase in these over the years. We also leave log piles around which are very attractive to the hedgehogs, stoats, toads, frogs and newts.
We recycle as much as possible. South Shropshire District Council has a 2 weekly rubbish collection. Please recycle what you can and we request that you don’t leave any excessive rubbish.
We have 2 bins in the shed. The green bin is for all food waste and cardboard ONLY.
We recycle cardboard, plastic bottles, glass bottles, newspaper, greetings cards, magazines and drink and food cans. It would help if you could leave these beside the bin in your room. We also recycle all food waste including cooked. We have a wormery for our kitchen waste and compost bins.
We have a towel and bed linen policy. These are changed every 7 days ( and with each new set of guests obviously! ) unless you request a more frequent change. Towels placed in the bath will be replaced with fresh ones.
We use environmentally friendly cleaning and laundry products and recycled toilet paper.
We do have a septic tank and a bio digester. Anything that is not quickly bio degradable stays there and has to be cleaned out. We have had problems with people flushing sanitary items etc. down the toilet – so please toilet paper ( and the toilet duck cleaning pads ) only.
We are on a water meter. We have lots of water butts to water the garden. Please don’t leave the tap running when brushing your teeth.
Please turn off lights when not in use. We are gradually replacing bulbs with low energy ones.
We shop locally where possible and have home delivery service from the local shop which cuts down our own miles.
We would encourage all guests to stay and explore the local area – how about making use of the train to visit Shrewsbury or go down into Wales?
If you have any other suggestions for how we can be more green please let us know!