If lying by the pool in the sun doesn’t float your boat, then how about an eco-holiday with a difference? Fancy doing something active and at the same time help restore some of Scotland’s wilderness?
You can do just that with Trees for Life as they restore about 1,000 square miles of Caledonian Forest, in the Highlands to the west of Loch Ness and Inverness back to wilderness. Trees for Life is running Conservation Weeks at eight locations in the Highlands between mid-March and November. In addition, to mark the Year of Natural Scotland, Trees for Life is introducing new Wildlife Weeks for conservation volunteers who also want to spend extra time learning about and observing the Caledonian Forest’s outstanding wildlife. The specially-designed Wildlife Weeks include day trips to the Isle of Skye to see white-tailed eagles, the third largest eagle in the world; to Aigas Field Centre at Beauly, Inverness-shire to see the beavers living on the loch; and the opportunity to feed wild boar at Trees for Life’s Dundreggan Estate in Glen Moriston to the west of Loch Ness.
The work can be physically demanding, so volunteers need a reasonable level of fitness, but the Conservation Weeks suit all abilities and anyone over 18 years old can take part. There is no upper age limit. “We have pledged to establish one million more trees by planting and natural regeneration within the next five years. Every volunteer who takes part in our Conservation Weeks will be helping to achieve something very special,” said Alan Watson Featherstone.
You might want to combine the trip with a week in a Scottish log cabin or cosy cottage, the EcoHolidayShop has lots to choose from with green credentials.
BBC Wildlife Magazine has voted Trees for Life’s Conservation Weeks as one of the Top 10 Conservation Holidays in the World, a green choice of a holiday for sure. For more details, see www.treesforlife.org.uk or call 0845 458 3505.
On a dull January day, nothing beats the blues like booking a cottage for a short break or summer holiday. The UK has some great holiday destinations and a wide range of self-catering options, many in our beautiful National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And, although it’s early to think of a dip in the sea, how about considering the cleanliness of the beach and the water quality? A must if you have young children. You can search for Blue Flag beaches on Cottage World, as well a looking for properties in National Parks, holiday cottages that allow dogs, or are near a pub! There’s lots of choice, from a Grade II house in Pembrokeshire that sleeps 10, with it’s own hot tub to a cosy barn conversion in Exmoor for just 2.
At last the temperature has risen and the sun is out, and thoughts of a trip to the beach in the UK instead of jetting of to the sun enter our heads. A change of scenery can be great to lift the mood and England has some stunning beaches, Wales some glorious coastline as does Scotland and Ireland and the beaches in the Channel Islands are some of the best to be found. Taking a holiday in the UK, and not flying abroad, is a far greener option. Camping – either in taking your own tent, or more up market glamping in a yurt, tepee or camping pod is a great way to lessen the impact of your holiday. There are so many styles of self-catering accommodation to choose from many of which are listed on the EcoHolidayShop from cottages in Cornwall to log cabins in the Lake District, this website lists lots of holiday properties that have green credentials, many of which are part of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, which accredits properties working to be eco-friendly. For a wider choice of UK based holiday cottages or log cabins Cottage World has a whole host of properties to choose from.
If you have a dog lots of places let you take your pet and that saves on kennel fees too, although as well a choosing a pet-friendly accommodation, if it’s near the beach, it’s worth checking that the beach allows dogs too. Some beaches don’t allow dogs during the summer months, however I was amazed how many beaches in Cornwall allowed dogs on them even in the middle of August!
Another advantage of a UK holiday, if you’re into cycling, is that you can take your bike with you, and that enables you to explore a wider area, without the use of a car. There are lots of cycle routes around including some great off-road trails and forest cycle paths that are family-friendly. And whilst walking might not sound that exciting, it is a great way to get to know an area. What could be better than an exhilarating walk along a coastal footpath finishing at a pub for lunch?
Fish and chips by a harbour, rock-pooling with the kids, canoeing along a river, surfing the waves, swimming in a loch or lake, fishing off the peer: simple pleasures worth experiencing. We are fortunate to have so much variety of holidays to choose from. As well as camping or caravanning holidays, staying in a cottage or log cabin can be a green choice, or how about a canal holiday? or sleeping under the stars in a shepherd’s hut? Whatever you choose, even if it’s just for this year, taking a holiday in Britain, not only helps the UK economy but is also better for the environment.