At Huntsham Court we are all about being the best and most flexible Devon party, wedding or civil partnership venue in the South West; but as huger part of what we are about is trying to do it in a responsible way in terms of sustainability, environmental responsibility and the promotion of localism.
All our water comes from our private well pumping water from the water table right under the house. We then purify and filter it so that every tap in the house pours top quality mineral water with no chemical additions- whether it’s for your bath or drinking water. Aside of great quality water it also cuts down on single use plastic water bottles.
As you can imagine with 40 bedrooms and large parties we get through a lot of towels, bedding and linen all needing laundry. Almost all our laundry is processed by Buckleigh Linen Services who are recognised nationally as one of the most energy efficient laundries in the country. The have a huge emphasis on building efficiency with a purpose built facility harnessing natural light and heat. For a great many years all of Buckleigh’s water came from its own wells and, together with water recycling and heat extraction from the waste effluence, it ensures the best and most efficient use of this resource.
We have 1000s bulbs in the building from huge chandeliers to floodlights and ambient side lighting. We are in a 10 year programme to convert all our visible bulbs to LED bulbs and concealed bulbs to low energy fluorescent bulbs so the lighting will still look pretty but will also reduce our lighting energy consumption by 90% compared to standard incandescent bulbs. With some of the specialist bulbs retailing at £40 each it is no small investment.
We recycle wherever and whenever possible so have a special rubbish collection system that recycles as much a we can which includes about 20,000 glass bottles a year. Also, instead of landfilling we send all our old bedding to pet rescue and rehoming centres; we donate left over canned goods to food banks; and encourage our guests to minimise single use plastics.
We have an amazing team at Huntsham Court and our principle is very much driven by four factors: (1) providing a life work balance commitment for our team (2) nurturing people to find the best fit for them and us (3)sharing and development of skills (4) source local people as much as possible to bring revenue into the area. In real terms this means that we have a huge spectrum of people with different skills and we take huge effort in trying to give them opportunity, access to bettering their skill set where they want to develop and us being flexible around their family and other commitments whilst providing clients with the consistency, reliability and expertise of a professional service delivered on time.
With any historic building their is a quicker and cheaper way of doing something or a better long term solution which inevitably is more expensive. In the end the house when we took ownership was very rundown and we feel that as custodians of one of Devon’s finest Victorian buildings we have a responsibility to both the building and our clients to secure this piece of heritage for years to come. As much as is financially possible we also try to find solutions which are the most appropriate long term fixes. To that end we have a reinvestment policy at Huntsham so that we are always doing both repair and preventative works such as replacing like for like lead work on the roof, improving our wiring and fire precaution and monitoring equipment or restoring the interior decoration.
We always look locally first and as much as possible engage local trades and people to help maintain, repair and restore our Devon wedding venue. Since 2012 we have invested almost £4 million into the building’s repair and maintenance, paying that to local suppliers and trades. This means that we have both secured a future for the building and brought investment into the area.
We feel a huge responsibility to both help our clients find the best quality and good value and promote local suppliers who provide great products with a social responsibility and locally sourced produce. One example of this is that all our main caterers have all invested time and energy into finding local produce from as near as 4 miles away from Huntsham Court – not only is it truly local but it also tastes amazingly good! We even have a flower supplier who grows flowers on a giant allotment nearby so you don;t have to have importuned flowers if that is important to you – it is all about choice and promoting a viable local alternative at a competitive price.
We ask of all of our food suppliers that they know their food chain and have options to provide organic and local produce for catering. We also encourage and promote all our catering suppliers to have vegan or meat reduced options for events should clients want them.
We get through lot of logs in winter and we have a programme, in consultation with the local Tree Office of Mid Devon council to both maintain our grounds, recycle felled trees by using them for garden features and logs and also planting new specimen trees and hedges in our grounds that are both decorative and also environmentally appropriate. So far we have planted over 2000 hedging shrubs to improve our gardens.
Bees are in danger and in decline across the UK so we have 4 hives at Huntsham tucked away so they don’t interfere with events. The bee colonies pollinate both locally farmed crops but also all our garden flowers which give us better cross pollination and healthier more beautiful gardens. They also make amazing honey!
We compost all our garden waste and source local manure from nearby stables so that in the next few years we are hoping that we will be increasingly locally self sufficient in the garden.
We get through as lot of electricity, and as part of our sustainability commitment we have chosen Corona to supply us with 100% renewable electricity.
At Huntsham Court we use as much as possible non silicone and environmentally friendly and low impact cleaning product