The Traddock: building a sustainable community

The Traddock

The Traddock

The Traddock in the Yorkshire Dales has worked hard to achieve a GTBS Gold Award and works with local businesses to be more sustainable and encourage sustainability in the community.

Introduction

A Grade II-listed Georgian country house, The Traddock is a small, family-run hotel surrounded by the beautiful North Yorkshire Dales National Park. With 12 individually-designed ensuite bedrooms, the hotel has been owned and run by Paul and Jenny Reynolds and Paul’s parents Bruce and Jane since 2002.

The Reynolds family have transformed the hotel from a state of significant disrepair to award-winning standards – the hotel is the current Good Hotel Guide Country House Hotel of The Year – according to their strong environmental principles. The hotel is the fourth in its county to receive a gold award from the Green Tourism scheme.

Their website states “we strongly believe in minimising our impact on the environment and have many ethical and recycling policies that reduce our impact and help our local community”. Initiatives include a demonstrable commitment to locally sourced food, with many items including bread, jam, yoghurts and cakes made on site, significant investment in a biomass boiler and a wholesale move to low energy lighting.

Awards and certification

We joined the GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme) in 2011 after encouragement from some other local businesses. On our first grading we received a silver award for the efforts and activities that we had been carrying out since we took over the Grade II listed hotel in 2002.

After the inspection we were given a very useful report and advice on areas for improvement or new programmes we could consider. In Jan 2014 we were inspected again and achieved our goal of a Gold Award. We are now one of just four North Yorkshire establishments to have reached Gold standard and one of only 150 in the whole of England

Other green awards held by The Traddock include:

  • 2006 Winner Best Organic Restaurant Soil Association Organic Industry Awards
  • 2011 Winner of the Innovation in Sustainable Hospitality award at The Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence
  • Special Commendation for the Best Organic Wine List. Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2010 and 2011.

We are also the current (2014) Good Hotel Guide Country Hotel of the Year.

When did your green initiatives begin?

The green initiatives started from the moment we purchased the hotel in November 2002. From the first day, we have run the business with a strong ethical, local and organic emphasis, to match our own personal beliefs. As we have developed the business, replacing ageing equipment and refurbished the facilities, we have always prioritised sustainable technology. Though not always the cheapest option the long term savings and benefits have always been substantial.

Why go down the sustainable route and what effect has it had?

The sustainable route has resulted in many fairly significant reductions in our costs for energy, waste, water, laundry and heating. The technology has also improved the infrastructure of the hotel increasing guest satisfaction and the overall efficiency of the hotel operations.

Key sustainability influencers

  • Owners The Reynolds family (Paul and his wife Jenny and Paul’s parents Bruce and Jane)
  • Sabrina Gibson, the hotel’s assistant general manager and green officer. Sabrina manages the GTBS scheme and the many staff led activities and projects, along with training and maintaining strong team support and buy-in.
  • Meghann Hull, sustainability officer, Yorkshire Dales National Park
  • Hetty Byrne, sustainable tourism officer, Forest of Bowland
  • Green Tourism Business Scheme inspectors

What impact has the work had on the satisfaction of staff, clients and customers?

Staff - The team here see the benefit of the more efficient equipment and technology. The other initiatives, such as splitting waste, are fairly intuitive and take minimal additional time and so are widely accepted. They all understand both the environmental and cost benefits, and readily join in with the majority of programmes. We get lots of suggestions, and team members are encouraged to take ownership of innovative ideas and make sure they are developed and adopted in all relevant departments. We can't think of any programme we have introduced that has not had a benefit to the business beyond being more sustainable or environmental.

Customers - We have over 50% repeat customers who enjoy what we do here at the Traddock. Our environmental efforts are supported and commented on frequently but only a small minority of guests are environmentally-minded to the same degree as ourselves. The great majority are less concerned but enjoy the thought that along with having a lovely time they are supporting our sustainable activities. Our visitor payback scheme with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust planted 19 trees in 2012.

The hotel achieves over 83% year round occupancy with significant repeat business. We are top 10 in North Yorkshire on TripAdvisor and are committed to giving the best possible service in a characterful and homely environment.

We used to be up a ladder changing bulbs every few days and now can’t remember the last time we had to.

Why is it important?

Sustainable practices usually result in less waste and/or reduced costs. In today's highly competitive world this gives us both a cost advantage but also means we have a growing budget to invest into more technology which in turn further improves our product and facilities. We can then offer our services at fair competitive prices that mean we remain a busy and thriving business.

Sustainable technology is usually very reliable. This reliability requires less time and resources to maintain and manage, and allows us to spend more time looking after and dealing with customer requests and needs. This improves the efficiency of our working practices and further enhances our product.

We are based in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and purchasing locally and having strong relationships with other local businesses results in a strong community. This means we have a healthy pool to recruit new team members from as well as motivated and highly skilled artisan producers to purchase from. This also means we help protect and sustain the balance required to keep the Yorkshire Dales a beautiful and open landscape for future generations.

Breakfast using locally sourced and home made products.

Breakfast using locally sourced and home made products.

 

Sustainable initiatives: What are the most exciting sustainable initiatives at the hotel?

Keeping food miles as low as possible is very important to The Traddock. Our rare breed pork travels just six miles from the Blue Pig Company in Long Preston. Beef, lamb and milk are on the road for less than 16 miles from Mansergh Hall and Brades Farm Dairy. Potatoes are from Clapham Community Cooperative, 1.5 miles from the hotel, and venison is sourced from Holme Farmed Venison, in Sherburn in Elmet, 60 miles away.

Many breakfast and dinner items are made on site, including bread, jams, fruit compotes, yoghurt, cereals, biscuits and cakes.

Thirty three out of our 77 wines are organic or biodynamic.

Energy & Carbon

We’ve invested £44,000 in a low carbon biomass boiler (Okofen Tandem Pelletmatic) which burns locally-sourced (27 miles) wood pellets. Although it was a large upfront cost, we received a government subsidy through the Renewable Heat Incentive and expect to reduce our energy costs by around £12,000 a year.

Again, with lighting, each LED bulb costs us £9, with around 290 needed to illuminate the hotel. But as they last up to 100 times longer than a traditional bulb, we are saving both time and money as well as energy. We used to be up a ladder changing bulbs every few days and now can’t remember the last time we had to.

We installed 150W loxa flood lights which have a 40 percent energy saving over older units.

Water

  • We have a rolling programme of fitting new dual flush toilets. Three rooms out of 12 currently have dual flush, whilst the others have displacements. As we upgrade and refurbish bathrooms, the toilets will be replaced. Our urinals are waterless.
  • Our linen and towel policy cuts down on unnecessary laundering when guests are staying more than one night.
  • We use Eco Pure laundry liquid and a water efficient washing machine – a Miele PW6065. We are looking at bringing the whole Eco Pure range into use around the hotel.
  • We have a large water butt in the garden.

Education & training

  • Our green policy is clearly displayed on our website and in our rooms to bring it to guests’ attention.
  • We highlight to our guests those attractions they can visit on foot or by bike.
  • The hotel’s green officer Sabrina Gibson is responsible for staff training on environmental and sustainability issues.

Community

  • Our old cooking oil goes to Clapham Community Co-operative for conversion to biodiesel.
  • We are working with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and a local landowner on a hay meadow restoration project.
  • All our waste cardboard is bailed and passed to a local school to support their swimming pool fund.
  • We also support Heart UK, RSPB, Champion Bowland, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and The Three Peaks Challenge.

Events

As a GTBS gold award holder, The Traddock will now act as an advocate for sustainable and environmental business, hosting open days for other interested businesses twice a year.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to hotels looking to go the same route?

1) Seek out other local leading sustainable businesses and ask for their advice and support. They can usually quickly introduce you to reliable suppliers or technology that will quickly help you improve your business.

2) Consider technology first and cost second. Yes, sometimes it can be slightly more expensive at purchase but you benefit far more in the long term with reliability and reduced running costs.

3) Make it a team affair. You can't succeed alone, everyone needs to be involved and committed to supporting sustainable initiatives for it to be a success.

For more information: visit The Traddock website.
Green Tourism Business Scheme
TripAdvisor Green Leaders

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