This is where we drill into the day to day, and the contributions that we can all make to reduce consumption, minimise waste and engage in the “least harm” mindset. Our Environment Committee meets every month and consists of ten team members from across the Estate with the objective to improve our knowledge, monitoring and overall impact.
With over 9,000 acres of hill farms on the Estate, a deer herd in the Parkland and a four acre Walled Garden, we have a plentiful source of local produce. Over 40% of the ingredients on our menus are delivered from the Estate gate to plate. When so much of our produce arrives by wheelbarrow to the kitchen door the food miles are almost zero, and beyond that we source most of our other ingredients from local Yorkshire businesses. Twice a year, the chefs from our four kitchens are taken on a training session with our local forager to help identify the wild edible ingredients growing in the Parkland and beyond. We are committed to reduce our food miles further though and we are exploring several options at the moment (watch this space!).
Waste, unfortunately, is a significant part of our footprint at Swinton and over the years we have evolved our processes to deal with the problem in a number of ways. Within the kitchens at Swinton we separate out our food waste and this is then collected and turned into biogas via anaerobic digestion. From used coffee grounds we grow mushrooms and our vegetable peelings are given to our goats ‘Bivvy and Wacky’. What remains as general waste is then processed to create electricity within Yorkshire, instead of going to landfill. Working with our external partners we compact our cardboard and along with our office paper is then shredded to create fuel pellets that are sold for use in biomass boilers. They also remove our used cooking oil and this is then turned into bio-diesel.
Where possible single use plastic is not used in deliveries by our suppliers, we ask for packaging to be from recycled stock. We return plastic bottles and as part of our overall waste management service which is subsequently recycled further.
The Swinton Estate has become an established destination for good practice for experiences and educational activities that work hand in hand with our natural resources. These develop an appreciation for and awareness of the landscape.
Within the Parkland, the lakes and gardens have been restored to provide miles of beautiful walks, with a Woodland Wellness hammock clearing, Barefoot Path and Wild Swimming lake. The parkland is also a venue for Garden Lunches and Foraging Days. Hotel guests enjoy visits to the Deer Park with the Estate ranger to see the fallow deer herd, and tours of the plant room and woodchip store at the biomass boiler.
Spending time in the countryside amounts to more than taking in the view. The Estate provides the backdrop to many activities, all of which create opportunities to be at one with the elements while mastering a skill or activity. These include our Birds of Prey falconry centre, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, cycling and bird watching.