Making trips away as planet-friendly as possible

The converted barn getaway

The converted barn getaway - Credit: Sarah Allen

A few weeks ago I went away for the weekend. After a lot of personal and pandemic stress it was a joy to pack a bag and have a few days away.
We headed just 24 miles away to a farm near Crediton. Since having kids (and certainly since the pandemic) I’ve realised that we don’t have to go far to feel like it’s a get-away, in fact I’m writing this in my new favourite get-away – the tent in our garden! 
Staying in a converted barn felt like a million miles from home. The linhay has been transformed into a three-bedroom house with downstairs consisting of an open-plan lounge/diner/kitchen, complete with a log burner. It was lovely that the days were warm but the nights still chilly, giving us a chance to cosy up by the fire as well as enjoy the garden – the best part being the hot tub.
We passed the time relaxing in the hot tub, eating breakfast and lunch in the garden, walking to the lovely community shop in Kennerleigh, taking country walks and enjoying a much-needed change of scenery.
The house had some great eco-friendly touches, such as the milk provided in a reusable glass bottle, refilled for guests before arrival from a nearby vending machine (similar to the one at Otterton Mill). They also had some eco-products such as washing-up liquid. I try to make our trips as planet-friendly as possible. 
We took all our own food (much of which was bought unpackaged and plastic-free) but also treated ourselves to croissants from the shop (packaged in paper). I brought along our own cotton dish cloth which I then took home to wash and reuse. The washing-up sponges provided will get thrown away (no doubt) between guests and when used release microplastics into the water. We recycled everything possible at the property such as glass, tins, paper and cardboard. We took home items they didn’t recycle but we can here in East Devon such as aluminium foil and food waste. 
Yuck – a weekend’s worth of food waste, I bet you’re glad I didn’t include a photo of that! I took a large plastic container and tea bags, food scraps and peelings were collected and I put them in the food recycling once home. This meant a tiny bag of rubbish, a bit bigger than my fist was left behind. I know I’m obsessed – who knows how much rubbish they generate in one weekend?
Our vehicle stayed parked the whole weekend and was only started for our return journey in which we made a brief stop at Exeter. This was the first time all four of us had been to Exeter since the start of the pandemic. This also felt like a treat and all we did was buy some plastic-free chocolate from Chococo in Gandy Street and eat it in Northern Hay Gardens.
Simple pleasures are very much appreciated at the moment (although I do realise a weekend away is actually a privilege). I think the pandemic has helped to stop many of us taking things for granted and to revel in the small things instead. Our next small adventure is going to be even closer to home, just 3.7 miles away this time. Our garden camp is going to be packed away and we will be pitching our tent at Castle Brake Holiday Park, Woodbury. The plan is a couple of nights to simply enjoy nature and to relax in the great outdoors.
For more eco-friendly living tips and ideas for local outings head to:

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