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Sustainability & Cycling in the Cotswolds

06 July 2021

Barn May 21 Coffee Flowers Bar Stools

The Cotswolds is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the UK. Whether you’re a Cotswolds local or visiting for a holiday, there’s always plenty to explore, but it’s also important to protect the environment so it remains beautiful for years to come. We caught up with Caron Denison, founder of Wild Carrot, which is leading the way in sustainable getaways in the region.

Our Pegasus Steepleton community is located in the heart of the Cotswolds in the scenic town of Tetbury. Encompassing 68 spacious apartments, spa, gym, and on-site restaurants, Steepleton offers a leisurely lifestyle like no other.

Hi Caron, can you tell us about Wild Carrot and how it started?

We started Wild Carrot in 2018. The name comes from the plant which grows in our paddock. We began as a cycling company, providing bikes for Calcot Hotel and Spa. We soon partnered with other hotels in the area and began organising guided cycling tours so visitors could explore the beauty of the region.

It was only in January last year that we decided to look for a permanent base where we could operate from and decided on Chavenage House. They had an old barn which we spent the first lockdown converting – the barn was completely overgrown with ivy and filled with old bits and pieces including some props from Poldark which was filmed there. 

We then converted a horsebox into a coffee shop, which we opened on 4 July. A month later we opened our glamping site which proved very popular and we have plans for offering more accommodation across the estate over the next 12 months.

We now have a café and a lounge bar with plenty of seating to choose from, ranging from sofas under the open barn, bar stools with oak barrels or tables and chairs in the large Nordic tipi which we bought last year. It was a big investment but with a fire pit and the ability to cope with snow, customers can stay warm and dry whatever the weather!

Our bike workshop provides bike hire, maintenance, and repairs as well as providing private tuition on Onewheels. We recently opened a Cycle Hire centre at the Cotswold Water Park for visitors to explore the numerous lakes.

The last year has been challenging but we’re passionate about offering unique, sustainable visitor experiences and can’t wait to welcome more guests this summer.

What steps do you take to operate sustainably?

We will achieve carbon negative status by next year (the business absorbing more carbon dioxide than it produces). We are practically plastic-free – our Shepherd huts were built using repurposed or locally sourced materials, we work with community providers for our café and recycle our consumables. We are planting a 57-acre woodland and wildflower meadow to offset any carbon we do use and dramatically increasing the biodiversity, introducing new species sympathetically and where appropriate. The Wild Carrot team are also supporting the community by taking part in conservation projects, the latest one being litter picking along the Tetbury Trail.

This year, we are gifting all those that stay at our glamping site a small oak tree which they can take home and plant; this will offset 25 kilograms of CO2 per year (the average carbon footprint of a couple travelling from London and staying a weekend with us).

We are also in the process of converting several hectares of monoculture, arable land, and allowing it to naturally rewild. 

What can visitors expect from the café and lounge bar?

We work with local suppliers at our café to offer everything such as salads, savoury rolls, sandwiches, coffee, smoothies, ice cream and cakes. Every other Saturday, our house jazz band plays to our customers inside the tipi. We will be hosting more live music and events in the future so keep an eye on our website for more details. We have a fully licenced lounge bar for pre-dinner cocktails until 7 pm; visitors adore the alfresco drinking and dining experience and often liken it to a holiday in Provence.

What are your recommendations for those visiting Tetbury?

Hookshouse Pottery is an amazing shop selling handcrafted pots using a traditional kiln – we often take cyclists there on our guided tours. Chris, the owner, provides workshops for those looking to understand the process. They also have a beautiful garden which is now open to the public.

The Cat and Custard Pot at Shipton Moyne is a lovely spot for a pub lunch and afternoon tea at Barnsley House is definitely a must, as well as Stroud Farmers Market for the most amazing collection of independent food and drinks.

In Cirencester, the Corinium Museum has a fantastic collection of Roman artefacts. I’d also recommend Minchampton and Rodborough Commons for incredible views of the valleys.

To find out more about Wild Carrot, visit www.wildcarrot.co.uk.

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If Tetbury sounds like your dream place to call home, discover our Steepleton community. Find out more by getting in touch with the team via [email protected] or 01666 848 219.