Category Archives: Renewable energy

How to be smart and save energy

Big Energy Saving Week starts today Monday 21 January 2019. This national campaign is designed to help people cut their energy bills and get the financial support they are entitled to.

#energysavingweek focuses on how you can save money on energy costs by switching energy supplier or tariff, and how to make your home more energy efficient. Whilst it’s really important to understand your energy bill so you can determine if you are getting the best deal, it’s the little things that can make a big difference to your energy consumption.

Smart Meters

Smart meterA good way to start is by having a Smart Meter which will tell you how much energy you’re using in near real time. It’s a really easy visual way of finding out what appliances, lighting and heating etc are using the most energy and the cost to you in pounds and pence (as well as kilowatt hours).

The Smart meter tracks trends over days, weeks or months so when you make changes you can see the results.

A Smart meter is a great incentive to make the effort to change lots of little habits that can make a big overall difference to your energy consumption.

Top 10 energy saving tips

Small changes can accumulate to make a big difference. Once you have made sure your house is well insulated and doors and windows are draught proof, you can make savings by following our top ten energy saving tips:

  1. Close doors, turn the central heating down a degree or two and wear a jumper!
  2. Close the bedroom curtains at dusk when it’s cold outside to stop heat escaping through windows – that way your room will be cosier come bedtime! Thermal curtains will minimise heat loss
  3. Bleed your radiators to make sure you’re getting the full amount of heat possible. If the top is colder than the bottom you should bleed your radiator.
  4. Turn off radiators in any rooms you’re not using. Why spend money on heating rooms you’re not in?
  5. Shut the front door – leaving the front door open whilst you bring in shopping or chit chat to a neighbour lets a lot of cold air in. Close the door in between bringing in the bags or invite people inside for a chat instead.
  6. Turn off the lights when you leave a room – saves around £14 per year
  7. Switch off electrical appliances when not in use. It’s amazing the amount of electricity used by the TV or computer monitor when left on standby. Also don’t forget to unplug your chargers and transformers. All those little power supplies to charge mobile phones, toothbrushes, and other personal gadgets are burning energy when they’re not in use.
  8. Only boil the amount of water you need – a full kettle uses a significant amount of energy costing around 2.5p. Another little saver is to put the lid on saucepans when bringing up to the boil. It not only saves energy, but also time!
  9. Be water wise – use a bowl instead of running the tap when washing up and see around a £25 saving per year. Knock one minute off your shower time and you could save £19 on energy and water bills!
  10. On bright days open the curtains to let the sunshine warm the house. Even in winter sunlight streaming through a window can increase the room temperature by several degrees. All that sunshine and looking out of our log cabins or glamping pods over the farm fields will cheer you up too!

Solar panels and wind turbine

Although we generate our own electricity using wind and solar technology we are still mindful of our energy usage. We hope you have found this blog useful and that our top ten energy tips will inspire you to make a few little extra changes – the devil is in the detail!

Green Tourism Gold AwardAt Hoe Grange Holidays we are proud to be Green Tourism and support their #energysaving campaign. As a Gold Award holder the sustainable measures we have in place ensure that when you stay with us in our spectacular #peakdistrict you will leave a lighter carbon footprint.


Free electric car charging for your eco-friendly holiday

Electric car charging is the new must have for quality holiday accommodation and the eco-friendly holiday! The popularity of electric and hybrid cars is increasing, and technology has improved in leaps and bounds. However owners of electric cars can understandably be cautious about bringing them on holiday.
Electric car charging can be a worry as there aren’t many charging stations, particularly in rural areas. People are unsure if they will have the facility to recharge the batteries at their holiday home. As the name suggests, the “Peak District” is quite hilly, so mileage range will be somewhat decreased.
Rest assured at Hoe Grange you can recharge your car batteries, as well as recharging your own energy levels! Simply plug in, sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful countryside views from our self-catering log cabins and glamping pods.
Recharge your batteries for free!
Some holiday home owners require payment for electric car charging guests’  vehicles. Here at Hoe Grange, we want to encourage the use of electric cars to minimise the effect of tourism on our special environment. So we offer FREE car charging to our guests for your eco-friendly holiday. 
We use an extensive range of renewable technologies including solar and wind power to generate our own electricity, so luckily it doesn’t actually cost so much!
Fast charging
Ahead of the trend we have for years allowed people to recharge their electric cars for free whilst staying at Hoe Grange. In the past electricity car charging has been a slow charge via external 13 amp or 32 amp sockets.
We have now added the latest high tech 16amp Rolec 3 phase fast charger,
which we use to charge our own hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander. This means you can get out and explore the Derbyshire Peak District to the full without worry, and can quickly recharge your car ready for the next day. Several guests recently have charged my dream car, the Tesla.
The technical stuff

For those that need the technical info, our charger has a type two socket with removable cable. The cable we have has the Type 1 plug at the car end to fit the Outlander as well as most Japanese and American based cars.

Tesla cars need the Blue cable supplied with the car.
If in doubt as to the charger type your car uses, please see the images below. If still not sure why not bring along your own cable? As long as it has a type 2 plug at the socket end it will work. Of course if you have a smaller 13 amp household socket charger we can still use this type for an overnight charge.
Type 1 plug for japanese and American cars
Type 2 socket UK standard
Book now to stay in our log cabins or glamping pods for a full recharge for both you and your electric car!
#GoodreasonstostayatHoeGrange #electriccarcharger #chargemycar #chargemytesla #carchargeingnetwork
#uniquedistrict #farmstayuk

Reduce, Reuse and Recharge!!

With the world waging war on plastics since that wonderful David Attenborough programme, it made us think of what else we could do. Although we are really hot on the recycling, we are always looking for ways in which we can do more to help save the environment. Looking at the recycling boxes at the end of each week the main culprit is the mountain of plastic milk containers.

Reducing plastic

Waste plastic milk containers
Waste plastic milk containers


We contacted our wonderful suppliers Peak District Dairy and have now arranged to have our milk delivered in old fashioned glass milk bottles, all labeled up nicely to show how local the milk is.

Now we just rinse out and leave them out for collection and re-use. It’s funny how things in life often go full circle and we are going back to the old fashioned doorstep deliveries!

Glass milk bottles
Glass milk bottles

We cannot always send bottles back for re-use, especially beer bottles, so we have to be a little more inventive. We use David’s empties on the farm for feeding the kade lambs! I promise you it is milk in there not beer, (although that could be a whole new lamb market Wagyu lamb?). Lambs are so cute this could be a complete new avenue of sale for Thornbridge brewery?

Beer fed lamb?
Beer fed lamb?
Top 6 tips for cutting down on plastics
  1. Say NO to plastic straws and also swap disposable for reusable – refill water bottles or take a cup with you – did you know less than 0.5% of disposable cups are recycled properly?
  2. Do you really need to buy bottled water? Definitely not while you’re staying on holiday at Hoe Grange as our water comes from our own borehole – it is perfectly pure with natural minerals and nothing added.
  3. Avoid takeaways and cook at home – takeaways have lots of packaging which is often non-recyclable and fresh home cooked meals not only taste delicious but have far less calories! If you fancy going Italian you can hire our pizza oven and create and cook your own pizzas.
  4. Refill bottles – find out where your local stockist is and get your washing up and cleaning product bottles etc refilled, or use online companies like Splosh, who post out refills – you can return the packaging to them for recycling too!
  5. Plastic is used to seal tea bags closed during manufacture – why not go back to good old fashioned loose tea? Your cuppa will taste better and is quick and easy to brew once you get into the habit!
  6. Use our canvas bags for shopping and buy from our fabulous #LoveLocal independent businesses – you’ll find something extra special to take home from our Peak District Environmental Quality Mark members, whilst also supporting the Peak District environment.
Recharge your batteries

Exciting news! As well as reducing waste, we have just had fitted a new high speed car charging point. We can now charge our new plug in hybrid car too, so all those local journeys are made using electric power generated by our very own wind turbine and solar panels.

Car recharging point
Car charging point.

As well as recharging your own batteries with a relaxing holiday at Hoe Grange we’re happy for you to plug in and recharge your car too …..


Visit England Awards for Excellence 2016

VE Awards for Excellence 2016WebWe are both delighted and excited to be finalists in the Visit England  Awards for Excellence 2016. Yet again we have been shortlisted in not just one category, but two – Access for All and Sustainable Tourism, so that must mean I will need two new dresses for the awards night!

Qualifying for the awards is a rigorous process and time consuming. However it gives you an incentive to stand back and take a good look at the facilities and services you offer and what needs improving. It’s so easy to spend all year with your nose to the grindstone without ever taking the time to truly review how things are going. To have the reassurance of an award judge (or two) agreeing that you’re getting it right is fantastic.

renewable energies at Hoe Grange
Felicity and David by the solar tracking system and wind turbine

The two Awards for Excellence categories of Access for All and Sustainability are now so engrained into the core of our business that they drive the direction of any development decisions we make.

off-road wheelchair

This year there were over 400 entries to be carefully reviewed. The judges assessed recent VisitEngland quality reports, online customer reviews and also social media. A shortlist of businesses was then compiled for mystery shopping and overnight stays or visits.So to jump through all these hoops to reach the finals in two categories is a fantastic accolade and shows that we are not just specialists in accessible holidays, but a well rounded business sharing our special place, which we hope is reflected in our warm welcome to all our guests.

Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland commented “Awards for Excellence finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England. We received over 400 truly impressive applications this year and there’s absolutely no doubt those shortlisted are a representatives of the best in the industry, who place delivering an unforgettable experience to visitors in England at the heart of their business operations”.

Wish us luck for the finals on Tuesday 8th March 2016 when the Gold, SIlver, Bronze and Highly Commended in each category will be announced at a gala dinner at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

A really good omen for the night is that it was at the Winter Gardens in 1983 that a certain young farmer caught my eye, and the rest as they say is history…


New for 2016 Glamping like never before!

As seen on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, manufactured by our friend James at My Shire Houses Ltd

Camping pods like never before…

New Glamping pod
New Glamping pod

No more shared bathrooms across a cold muddy field.
No more cooking on a gas camp stove.
No more half deflated air bed.

If you have always fancied the idea of camping and getting closer to nature, but don’t cherish the thought of a cold uncomfortable nights sleep, then our cosy mini cabins are just right for you. Open for April (sooner if we can, it depends on the weather and ground-works) 2 brand new ‪Glamping‬ pods on a whole new level of luxury..
Designed especially with couples in mind, each pod sleeps two in romantic comfort, with spectacular views of the stunning Derbyshire ‪Peak District‬ landscape.

Our new pods, “Swallow” and “Skylark” are under construction and will have a fully fitted en-suite shower room with a spacious 1200 x 900 shower, basin and w.c.- in fact larger than my ensuite at home!

The kitchen, although small will have a fridge, sink, induction hob and microwave, so you will be able to cook up your own tasty meals using our delicious Peak District produce. A large sofa will fold out to reveal a large comfortable double bed with high quality bedding, so you can snuggle up and take in the countryside view.

We are sticking to our eco-friendly principles and the pods are being built to the highest sustainable standards using FSC timber, with high levels of insulation with sheep wool. LED lighting and cutting edge infrared heating technology which will provide ample heating with a maximum power requirement of 1400W per pod (more likely to run at about 500w.) All carefully designed to make it a real home from home.

View form the new Glampingpods

Gaze through the Hobbit style round doorway or sit outside on the covered porch, or around the fire pit, chill out on the swing seat watching the stars as you share a glass or two of wine. The views out to the beautiful Derbyshire landscape will be stunning and the landscaping around the pods is designed to bring the White Peak features closer to home with the use of standing stones and thoughtful planting.

The pods will be sited just over the wall from our existing cabins and will offer a greater flexibility to our accommodation. They will especially be useful to some of our less mobile guests who have larger parties than we can currently accommodate in the accessible cabins.

While the pods will be designed with access in mind, their compact size makes them unsuitable for a full time wheelchair user, but they will have level thresholds and easy access showers.

pod floor plan
Daytime floor plan

We are very excited about our new venture, and hope to welcome our first pod guests in early 2016.

The first 5 lucky people to book our luxury camping pods will receive Champagne and chocolates on arrival! So book our glamping eco pods now to avoid disappointment.


GoldStar for Hoe Grange Holidays


Exciting news!
We are proud to announce that Hoe Grange Holidays was awarded a prestigious GoldStar Award for the ‘best Self Catering Accommodation’ at the Green Tourism conference 2014.

GoldStar Award for Green Tourism
Receiving our GoldStar Award from Satish Kumar

Finalists were selected from the highest qualifying tourism businesses assessed last year against rigourous criteria for their innovation, cost savings and green ambassadorship. The Judges then selected the most sustainable business in each tourism sector for the prestigious GoldStar.

Green Tourism  is recognised as the worlds no 1 when it comes to environmental accreditation in the tourism sector and is independently verified. Does that make us the best of the best?

The judges were particularly impressed with our wide range of renewable energies, our dedication to preserving our environment and all whilst being as inclusive as it is possible to be; even our Boma7 Off-road wheelchair got a mention, along with the wonderful log-fired sauna and hot tub!

Andrea Nicholas, Director of Green Tourism, said: “The standard has been exceptionally high this year. Attaining the GoldStar Award honours the dedicated commitment David and Felicity have to the environment. They provide guests with great service and value for money while at the same time championing the cause of sustainability.”

It is fantastic to have all our hard work recognised in such a way. It all helps to be able to reassure our guests, that their holiday in the Peak District will support, rather than harm the special environment, all without compromising on luxury.

Don’t take their word for it, come and try us for yourself !


Green Tourism GoldStar Award winners 2014
Green Tourism GoldStar Award winners 2014

photo 2

British Farming Awards

We are delighted that David has been shortlisted for the British Farming Awards in the “Renewables Innovator of the Year” category.

British Farming AwardsThe British Farming Awards focus on farmers, celebrating stories of people who have changed what they do and how they do it. At the heart of many farms lie the families behind them who, have developed the business to help secure its place in years to come. The Renewables Innovator of the Year category recognises those who have diversified into green energy and are reaping the rewards both financially and environmentally.

Whilst we are both passionate about the environmental impact that both our farm and holiday businesses have on our stunning Peak District countryside, David has been the driving force behind the development of renewable technologies at Hoe Grange.

The 16kw ground source heat pump installed to heat the self catering log cabins was the first renewable technology to be introduced.This was followed by an innovative pv solar system that tracks the sun, thus achieving 40% more electricity generation than the same size static roof-mounted system. This 4kw system provided more thatn 5,600 kwh in the first year.

renewable energies at Hoe Grange
Felicity and David by the solar tracking system and wind turbine

The 10 kw wind turbine installed next provides peak production in the winter months and at night when demand from the ground source heat pump is at its highest.

Air source heat at Hoe Grange
Air source draws warm air from the loft space to heat the water

The LPG gas boilers in the two original cabins were replaced with air source hot water heaters, using hot air extracted from the roof space. Three hundred litres of water at 65 degrees costs just £0.50 per day.

In February this year a 11.5kw roof mounted solar system was installed on one of the farm shed roofs. At its peak this new system provides another 80 kwh per day.

A 50kw biomass heating system for the farmhouse, office and laundry was installed at the end of September.

By combining renewable technologies Hoe Grange has become around 80 per cent self-sufficient, only drawing from the National Grid on very dull days, or nights when there is no wind.

Together these initiatives have reduced carbon output by an impressive 58 tonnes per year and reduced energy costs by over £5,000, as well as generating additional income of over £15,000 per year. We hope we inspire others to make the most of the many renewable technologies now available.

We are thrilled to be finalists in these prestigious national awards and look forward to the gala dinner at Chateau Impney Hotel, Droitwich on Thursday 23rd October where the winners will be announced.

Wish us luck!


Electric car… charging up the Derbyshire Hills

With great advances in electric car technology it’s now even possible to explore the hilly Peak District in Eco-friendly style. Our friend has had this BMW3i on demonstration and bought it up to show us. With a range of over 140 miles at around 1p per mile and zero road tax, it makes great sense. And by plugging it into our renewable electricity source it becomes almost free to drive!

An Electric BMW 3i charging at Hoe Grange
Charging the next generation of Electric cars at Hoe Grange

Hoe Grange has been a listed member of the Zero Carbon World network of car charging points for two years but this is the first one that has made it up the hill!

It’s also amazingly quick and fun to drive! As well as using the brakes to regenerate electricity for the batteries when it stops, it has larger wheels to reduce rolling resistance and can be fitted with an optional fast charging system, so it will recharge in a fraction of the time it takes a normal electric car. It is also amazingly quiet.

…and that’s not a wind turbine on the car roof… it’s ours in the field behind, but it could be a new design feature for the next model. (If so I want a fee for thinking of it!)

Electric cars are the future. Currently passenger cars account for 40% of the UK’s carbon tranpsort emissions. A switch to electric cars would dramatically reduce this figure and result in cleaner local air and lower carbon emisions nationwide.

This is exactly the type of technology that inspires the constant development at Hoe Grange, which is shown by the recognition we have from The Green Tourism Business Scheme and the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark.

Come, stay and recharge both yourself and the batteries for your car!


The Hoe Grange Hike 2014

Last Sunday the 27th of April, 19 people joined us for the Hoe Grange Hike as part of the wider Peak District Walking Festival.

This year saw a change of route from the walk we have done for the past 4 years and explored the footpaths over the hill to Brassington.Best foot forward

Following Derbyshire Dales countryside ranger Patrick Mountain, the group were lead over the private land at Hoe Grange where they saw and heard lots of wildlife, along Pinder’s lane. Did you know that a “Pinder” was the keeper of the Pinfold where stray animals were kept until claimed by their owners for a small fee? Thus it was also sometimes called a pennyfold.

The walkers then joined a footpath over towards Rainster Rocks seeing evidence of old lead mines and some magnificent examples of ancient ridge and furrow. These  man-made undulations in the land were deliberately created by ploughing to give more surface area for grass growing as well as drier tops to the ridges where animals could lay on drier better draining ground

Ridge and furrow at Rainster Rocks
Ridge and furrow at Rainster Rocks

Wild Orchid in full bloom
Wild Orchid in full bloom

Wondering over the meadows and rocky slopes there was a wonderful display of wild purple orchids, which are out much earlier this year to make up for  their dismal display in 2013!

After walking over the hill to Brassington, learning about the Norman church and pubs in the village, the group headed towards Harboro Rocks, on the way passing close to our latest man made feature, the Carsington wind farm.

Carsington Wind Farm
Love them or hate them they are quite something up close

After all this strenuous activity it was back along the High Peak Trail, one of the first railways to be built and opened in 1830, to Hoe Grange for a well earned cream tea.

Yummy Cream Tea
Yummy Cream Tea

And just to say thanks to all who supported us, and to Patrick for his leadership and knowledge, together over the day we raised £43 for Friends of the Peak District.

Although the Peak District Walking Festival is over for another year, you can still keep active by joining in with the many activities organised for the Peak District Summer of Cycling


Finalists in the Climate Week Awards

We are delighted to announce that Hoe Grange Holidays has been selected as one of four finalists for the Best Business Initiative category in the Climate Week Awards to be held on Tuesday 4th March at the Excel Centre, London, as part of the launch event for Climate Week 2014.

Instigated by Kevin Steele in 2011, Climate Week is Britain’s biggest climate change campaign, inspiring a new wave of action to create a sustainable future. Culminating in a week of activities from 3rd to 9th March 2014, it showcases practical solutions from every sector of society that help people live and work more sustainably.

pv solar panels and wind turbine
Renewable technologies help to reduce the carbon footprint at Hoe Grange

The judges were impressed by how we combine a range of renewables to offer low-carbon holidays on our working farm in the Derbyshire hills.  We have strived to minimise use of fossil fuels; 75% of energy needs are produced on site with a 10kw wind turbine, solar power enhanced with a tracking system, heat pumps and zero waste to landfill.

Together these initiatives have reduced our carbon output by over 21 tonnes per year. Constantly seeking to improve we are just putting in a 12kwh solar panel roof mounted system so that we can become fully self-sufficient for electricity.

As members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme we are continually striving to reduce our impact on the environment, whilst enabling guests to share our special Peak District landscape.

We are delighted to be finalists in these prestigious national awards. We hope our actions not only inspire guests and businesses alike to find out more about climate change and what can be done to reduce energy and waste, but also how to adapt to change.  Climate Week is a great opportunity for us all to concentrate on reducing the amount of energy we waste in our homes and workplaces every day. We believe small improvements can be as important as big innovations and can really make a difference.

What will you try for Climate Week? Find out more about local events and how to take part in the Climate Week Challenge; a competition for teams of 4 to 6 people, which gives experience of tackling real-life environmental issues to a deadline, at

Have fun!

David and Felicity