Living off Grid
Where it all started
Philip and I started in the world of tourism back in 2001 when we bought a run down bed and breakfast on the Northumbrian Coast. We spent the next 10 years gradually improving and upgrading the bed and breakfast and working sustainable eco friendly practices into the business. We replaced all the lighting for low energy led light bulbs, we washed all the bedlinen in house using eco friendly washing powder and air drying whenever possible. We changed over from single use plastic shampoo and shower gel bottles to refillable containers and filled the rooms with lovely refurbished furniture. The business was a huge success but in 2011 my parents expressed that they wished to retire from the family farm. We moved into their modern farmhouse and added solar panels to the roof and kept our B & B to rent out as a holiday cottage to give us an income whilst we settled into the farm. In 2019 we opened our campsite with the idea of having everything here located on the farm. When we started planning our venture we originally thought we would need to install electric to our campsite. However after a quote of over £40,000 we had to rethink. We were looking to run the campsite in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner anyway so going off grid was and is the perfect way to do this. We started out with The Caravan and Camping Club but after two years decided that The Greener Camping Club were a much better fit for us as they were more suited to our Greener ethos.
In 2022 we bought our first Glamping Accommodation a hand built Shepherds hut clad in sustainably sourced Oak, insulated by sheepswool and heated by a hobbit log burning stove. We fitted solar panels to provide 12v electric for a little fridge, tv and lights.
At the end of 2022 we sold our holiday let on the coast and we bought two old Wigwam holiday camping pods and stripped them out and refitted them with a double bed, table and chairs and Hobbit log burning stoves too. We also started to plan for our two lodges set in the trees to the side of the campsite.
After much planning we eventually took delivery of our gorgeous larch clad lodges in July 2023. We went a bit further with the lodges and put in Penguin log burning stoves which have a lovely little oven too. The lodges are powered by a bank of solar panels which charge 3 large batteries which in turn provide 240w power to the lodges. We have been amazed at how well they work. A lot of time was spent planning exactly what appliances we could put into the lodges to keep the power consumption down so that they can run efficiently. All the lights are low power, the Fridge is A* rated and by swapping a conventional oven for the log burning stove the cabins are both cosy and very efficient to run.
We continue to wash all the bedlinen in house using eco friendly products, all the timber for the campsite and glamping accommodation is sustainably sourced from the farm too. Over the past 60 years we have planted approximately 10,000 trees, re-wilded areas and built a nature reserve. We have planted about 30 miles of hedges and introduced wildlife friendly field margins to create wildlife corridors between fields. Our grassland is managed on a low input basis with conservation grazing provided by our small flock of rare breed sheep. Our grassland is species rich and our wildlife therefore is plentiful. We have deer, hares, butterflies and many types of birds and bats that frequent the farm. We have bat boxes, bird boxes and alternate sewing wild seed fields with the arable crops which are left over winter for the wildlife. We also have many beautiful flora and fauna on the campsite including orchids which flower between the pitches which are surrounded by long grass to encourage wildlife.
When you come and stay on our campsite or in our glamping accommodation why not ditch your electrical tech altogether and have a proper detox. Read stories, play board games or have a good old family game of guess who?
Enjoy a bbq for your supper or whip up some bacon sandwiches using a portable gas stove and meals are sorted too. Here are some of our favourite camping meals:-
Pineapple and chicken Kebabs
oodles of noodles...
And of course those essential Marshmallows
Never leave your bbq/firepit unattended or try to hang things over it to dry. Make sure that your bbq/fire pit is correctly extinguished before you go to bed for the night. Only use in open spaces and never ever take it into your tent or accommodation to keep you warm as the resulting carbon monoxide gas is deadly.
Please do not dispose of hot ash in the bins let it cool before disposal.
So all that is left is to sit back, relax and enjoy the nature around you.
Philip & Sarah :-)