green holidays made easier
Combermere Abbey is an enchanting holiday spot. Located on a one thousand acre estate between the market towns of Nantwich and Whitchurch on the border of Cheshire and Shropshire, it forms a breath-taking natural habitat, rich in flora and fauna.
Whilst its history can be traced to the establishment of a Cistercian monastery in 1133 this is self-catering 21st century style. Ten of its cottages are set a mile back from the road in a beautifully renovated Grade II listed Victorian stable block that encircles a cobbled courtyard, and an eleventh is a Gothic lodge situated on the perimeter. They can accommodate couples, families or larger groups of up to ten. Two cottages can also seat large dinner party groups up to 16 and 22. Each cottage is elegantly decorated and luxuriously equipped to an exceptionally high standard.
Guests can order hampers and meals in advance, book caterers, or purchase locally sourced frozen meals from a self-service honesty shop that is open all day. There are tranquil woodlands to explore and a magical lake, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, where you can swim at certain times of the year and also fish – it is stocked with perch, tench, roach and ‘huge pike’. Bikes for adults and children are available to borrow, and there is a children’s playground with a Wendy house. The walled gardens boast a tennis court and a croquet lawn with all the necessary equipment freely available. There are lovely quiet seating areas, picnic and barbecue spots and the world’s only fruit tree maze. Holistic massage treatments can also be arranged on site.
An idyllic bolthole – and a real find!
Combermere Abbey’s owner, Sarah Callander Beckett says she is passionate about the environment, its protection, enhancement and long term sustainability. So she aims to reduce the estate’s carbon footprint and conserve natural resources by ensuring the responsible use of energy, water and materials whilst maintaining the highest levels of guests’ comfort.
There have been significant reductions in electricity consumption, for instance by fitting some cottages with thermostatically controlled low energy heating (Rointe Series K radiators), and the use of low energy light bulbs.
Combermere is committed to reducing waste at source and recycling paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass. A natural reed bed sewage treatment system has been installed. Environmentally friendly cleaning products are used wherever possible, the use of chemicals is kept to a minimum, and sprays are not used at all in the walled and vegetable gardens. Logs for the cottages’ fires and wood burning stoves are supplied from the estate itself.
The estate and farm are managed on sustainable and organic principles. The annual harvest from the fruit tree maze, together with other produce, is made into a range of juices and unusual jams, jellies and chutneys called ‘The Walled Garden Collection' which are available, along with other locally sourced farm produce. Guests are provided with extensive information about local walks, bus services and visitor attractions.
Combermere was awarded the Green Tourism Business Scheme’s highest Gold rating in 2011 for its commitment to sustainability and eco-tourism.
ecofriendlytourist.com stayed as a guest of Combermere Abbey in March 2012