Category Archives: Tourism

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!
David
 
#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 …..

David

Rural Business Awards Champion of Champions

Jules HudsonAt a glitz and glamour gala evening hosted by Jules Hudson of BBC Countryfile fame, the Rural Business Awards overall Champion of Champions was revealed at Denbies Winery in Surrey on Thursday 5th October.

We thought the competition in the category of Best Rural Tourism Business, of which we were one of 5 finalists, was stiff to say the least. With a diverse group including, an open farm/craft venue employing 50 people, a welsh Eco wedding center, a glamping site in Yorkshire and a stunning holiday cottage in Lancashire, we were resigned to be leaving without a prize.

However when the runner up in our category was Barleylands Farm and craft village there was a glimmer of hope for the top slot. As Jane Headley, Senior Tutor at Harper Adams University, opened the gold envelope Felicity and I were overwhelmed to hear Hoe Grange Holidays from The Derbyshire Peak District announced as the winner!ruralbusinessawardsBest Rural Tourism Business Award

After being presented with the Best Rural Tourism Award on stage before the 300+ audience we were whisked off for photos and interviews.

It was then time to relax and revel in the glory of such a prestigious award. Having removed my jacket and loosened my tie I enjoyed a celebratory glass of the excellent Denbies red wine.

And the overall Champion of Champions are…

At the very end of the evening the co-founders of the Rural Business Awards, Jemma Clifford  and Anna Price, announced the outstanding category of Champion of Champions. The winner was the finalist with the highest overall scores in the highly secretive and technical judging system. Judges marked entries individually so no one knew what the other judges thought or indeed who had won! The atmosphere was electric.

rbaThe judges were unanimous in their decision and you cannot imagine our surprise when the clear winner was announced as Hoe Grange Holidays!

Wow! Stunned and amazed, after a rapid re-dress and quickly retying my tie we made our way to the stage to rapturous applause to receive our second trophy of the evening.

It was all was a bit of a blur and our heads were in a spin, so imagine the shock and horror when they asked us to address the gathering! Thinking on my feet I thanked my wife Felicity for all the hard work over the last 12 years and said that to be recognized in such a way by a host of industry experts was the ultimate reward. I think I may have earned some extra brownie points there!

Felicity added her thanks and said how the teamwork between the two of us was well balanced; with her creative ideas and me keeping a close eye on the purse strings ensuring that as well as having a fantastically inspired business, it remained financially viable!

As well as a scrumptious meal with superb English wines from Denbies, guests were entertained by Faith Tucker, a very talented 17-year-old opera singer.

The evening was sponsored by the Country Landowners Association (CLA) and Amazon and celebrated businesses from all corners of the UK. The finalists in the 13 categories were as diverse as technical fabric producers, butchers, PR companies, software developers, sporting businesses and of course holiday providers. Find out about the other amazing finalists and winners of the Rural Business Awards 2017 here.

Since the Rural Business Awards ceremony life has been quite hectic, appearing on East Midlands Today TV, and Radio Derby breakfast show, to talk about our eco-friendly, accessible self-catering holidays, as well as featuring on many social media platforms and blogs.

Awards co-founder Anna Price said: “We had more entries in our tourism category than any other but Hoe Grange Holidays just blew us away and was a clear winner, not only in this category but of the whole awards. The shortage of holiday providers offering good quality disabled access is shocking and we loved how Hoe Grange was showing such imagination in filling this gap in the market. Huge congratulations to them, and we wish them every success in the future”.

Although back down to earth at home in the Peak District countryside, cleaning log cabins, greeting guests and farming, we are still on cloud nine and celebrating our tremendous achievement!

David

David and Felicity with their new awards

Finalists in the Rural Business Awards

Rural Business Awards Finalist logoExciting news! We are thrilled to be one of five finalists in this years Rural Business Awards in the Best Rural Tourism Business category.

inquisitive number 9The judges are looking for unique rural businesses offering exceptional customer care, who have strong links with local communities, consider inclusivity, and have sustainability at their heart.Hoe Grange farm viewSome of the other categories include Best Diversification, Innovation, Social Enterprise, Food & Drink, Best Employer and many more.

close up with  lambsRural tourism was the category with the most entries, so to be picked out from such a large number from throughout the UK is amazing, and makes all our efforts worthwhile.

It gives us a real sense of satisfaction when we exceed guest expectations and everyone goes home with happy memories of their holiday with us.

Created by Directors and Co-Founders Jemma Clifford & Anna Price, the aim of the Rural Business Awards is to give recognition to businesses operating right across the Rural sector, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations.

A shortlist of 5 entries per category was announced last week, and the winners will be revealed at a glamorous awards ceremony on Thursday 5th October 2017 at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking Surrey. It will be wonderful to be guests ourselves for a change!

We are up against some pretty stiff competition in the Best Rural Tourism category from

Barleylands Farm Park and Craft Village, Ceridwen Centre, Humble Bee Leisure, and The Rookery, Roughlee Holiday Cottage.

Such a diverse set of businesses, it will be very difficult for the judges to choose a winner!

So wish us luck!

David

cows in field

Sneaky peek at our new Glamping pods

Our new pods are coming along nicely and will be ready for delivery later in the month. Here are just a few teaser photos showing a sneaky peek.

pod under construction
We are particularly pleased with the stained glass panels that are going in the bathroom door which were inspired by our fantastic Peak District views and created by Juliet Forrest of www.jjjartwork.com a member of Peak District Artisans who will be doing a guest blog soon on the production of the panels.

CZloPc1XEAIE85SBathroom door with Stained glass window

We already have a few bookings for our fantastic glamping pod holidays in Derbyshire, so don’t delay book today!

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…

Felicity

Fame for Fudge

Out Now! The 2016 Peak District Visitor Guide, A quality lifestyle type brochure featuring the best places to visit and stay in the area.visit Peak District guide coverBut this years edition has the added benefit of a picture of the cutest Jack Russel in the world – our Fudge!VPD visitor guide
Page 40 highlights the best accessible places to eat, visit or stay in the Peak District showing how, not only do we live in the best National park, it is also the most accessible. and what better way to explore than on the Hoe Grange Boma 7

Fudge also says that we must not forget we also have the best walkies in the world with a good number of squirrels to add to the excitement. check out our Dog Friendly page for walks and dog friendly pubs.

Order your copy of this years guide here, but don’t book anywhere else but Hoe Grange!!

David

 

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.
http://31.216.48.206/~hoegrangeholiday/our-cabins/glamping-pods/

David

10 years and we are going to the dogs!

It doesn’t seem like it, but in a few weeks time it will be 10 years since we welcomed our first ever guests. I can well remember two very nervous hosts showing in our first visitors  Mr and Mrs Clews and their friends Mr and Mrs Fox, who brought 2 horses with them.

A couple of weeks later we welcomed Mr and Mrs Fosby, who was a our first wheelchair using guest. Little did we know how large a part both of these type of guests would play in shaping the business we have today.

We have met some extraordinary people over the past 10 years, many who have become good friends and appear at astonishingly regular intervals. Our most regular guests being Neville, Val, Bob and Thelma who have been nearly 30 times and have another 3 holidays booked for 2016!

lambs cowAnimals have played a huge part in our success. Our dogs, Twix, Crunchie and Fudge get more mentions in the guest book than we do, also the horses, chickens, sheep and even the odd (very odd!) calf “Austin”.

 

 

We have welcomed 100’s of horses over the years, and even a cat or two, but what has impressed us the most are the fantastic assistance dogs we see on a regular basis. These superbly trained dogs make difficult lives that little bit better, and at the same time provide comfort and companionship like no other!

We want to celebrate our 10 years by doing something special, so we have decided to  raise enough money to buy and train a Canine Partners assistance puppy! Our target is £5000 over the next 12 months and we have some exciting plans to make this happen.

I think you may meet this little fella at one of our events
I think you may meet this little fella at one of our events!

When booking online you can choose to donate £5 or more by selecting the drop down menu and there are collecting tins in the cabins for your loose change.

We took part in a photo shoot for a charity calendar in association with Molten Rock the manufacturers of the magnificent  Boma 7 off-road wheelchair with 1/12th of the proceeds going to our fund. Order your copy here!

In February we are holding a charity cinema evening showing my favorite film “Hot  fuzz” where guests will dress appropriately and join in with the film, we will of course be selling Cornettos that night!

On Friday 11th March we have an open day from 11am to 3pm to celebrate Disabled Access Day – come and join us for a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th April we have invited owners of Boma 7’s from across the country to get together for a fun off-road challenge across our farm fields, followed by an afternoon coutnryside walk/Boma trek.

On Friday May 6th our neighbour, super star Vicki Lambert, has kindly agreed to sing for her supper as Dusty Springfield – she has an amazing voice and I guarantee she will make it a fun evening and get you all dancing and singing along.

For the more active in July we will be hosting a cream tea walk for the Erewash Ramblers and there will be a reindeer walk nearer Christmas. Who knows what else we will get up to?

We would love for you all to be involved with as many of the activities as possible and help us to achieve our target, and help change someone’s life. Maybe you would benefit from an assistance dog? Find out what a Canine Partners assistance dog could do for you and how to apply.

We will be keeping you up to date with our progress here on the blog and on our Facebook page – watch this space!

David

Canine Partners

There’s trouble at mill !

The Derbyshire Peak District has many significant heritage sites and structures. One that stands out, literally on top of the skyline, is Heage Windmill, which was completed in 1797 and is the only remaining stone tower windmill with 6 sails in the world!

However sadly there is now extreme “trouble at mill” and we need your help!

Late this summer severe wet rot was discovered in the fan and the main supports for the cap and sails of the windmill – a real threat to the survival of this unique structure, which is going to cost £100 k to repair.

However this is not the first “trouble at mill” – in February 1894 the mill was tail winded (i.e. the wind blew from behind the sails) and the cap and four sails were blown off in a violent storm. The photograph below shows the miller, standing on the wreckage of the sails in front of the mill and the brake wheel protruding from the debris of the cap on top of the tower!

Heage windmill 1894

When the rebuilding commenced, it was decided to replace the four sails with six patent sails, presumably to give the mill more power. The mill continued to be in regular use until 1919, when yet again the fantail was severely damaged in a gale and, presumably due to the declining economic situation of mills at that time, the windmill closed down. The mill was abandoned and over the next 50 years became derelict, and was further damaged in 1961 when it was struck by lightning.

In 1966, a Building Preservation order (the first ever in the county) was placed on the mill – with a Grade 2* listing – with Derbyshire County Council purchasing the mill for £350 in 1968.
During the early 1970s, restoration work was carried out with the fitting of new floors, sails, cap covering and skeletal fantail, and new sails hoisted in 1972, though the mill remained a static feature on the landscape.

In 1997 the windmill was again struck by lightning, fortunately without serious damage (this should never happen again as lightning conductors are now in place!) and Derbyshire County Council was obliged to deny access to the mill on safety grounds.
Having recognised the deteriorating condition of the mill, Heage Windmill Society, a charitable trust, was formed in 1996, whose aim was to restore the mill back to working order.

No easy task! After securing many grants and Six sail windmillmuch hard work, including re-cogging the gears, rebuilding the cap and cap track, building a new fan tail and hand sewing 126 canvas shutters on the nine-metre long sails, the fully working mill finally opened to the public on 1st June 2002.

It’s certainly an amazing sight and a great tourist attraction and has been successfully milling flour ever since until September this year when the severe rot was discovered. Find out how you can help keep the sails of Heage Windmill turning for many more years to come!

Felicity

Heage windmill sails removed
the sails removed for repair

windmill at Heage in Derbyshire