Our Commitment to Sustainability: Our journey so far
We don’t just talk about sustainability and the environment – we put it into action too. Since opening in 2008, we’ve worked hard to turn Bluestone into a world-leading, eco-friendly place where sustainability and conservation are at the heart of everything we do.
Before we opened
Before it was transformed into a resort, the Bluestone site was made up of rolling fields of farming pasture with no animals or eco-systems of special interest. We saw this as a chance for a real challenge and meant there was an opportunity to develop something new and exciting on the land, and in the process, encourage and attract a much wider variety of wildlife and wildflower flora and fauna.
We also bought the area of Planted Ancient Woodland (PAW) next to the site; an area of ancient woodland that was planted with nurseries of fir and other commercial wood crops for harvesting at a later date. By buying this woodland, we were able to protect the whole area from clearance that had been planned by the Forestry Commission for 2003.
Today: We've come a long way
What a difference a decade (and a bit) has made. Since then Bluestone has been transformed into a leader in sustainability and the environment. We've rehabilitated habitats, built new ones, and attracted a diverse range of flora and fauna back to the area, where they've flourished. We're also worked hard to preserve the areas of protected ancient woodland, to ensure more generations can enjoy them.
The Future: It's going to be green
As well as our various commitments to sustainability and biodiversity in conjuncture with national and local authorities, we're leading the way as a business, setting ambitious goals for the next decade.
We've formed a committed team of experts to take our vision forward, and we plan on taking others with us. A key area to ensure we protect and enrich our wonderful resort is education and helping others understand the value of the natural world and what they can do to help. This is where our vision for a Free Range Future is key and brings together our hopes for an even better tomorrow.
Commitment to a Free Range Future: The journey so far
Take a closer look at what we've been up to for the last 12 years, and how we've shaped our goals to respond to the urgent climate crisis.
Bluestone opens for the first time and is proud to be a friend to the environment from the start. Here are just a few ways we achieved that from the moment we opened:
- Biomass-fuelled energy centre. The feed crop is grown on local farms, so the scheme also helps support the farming community and employment opportunities in Pembrokeshire.
- Solar panels to provide hot water for 100 lodges
- A car-free resort, instead guests use electric buggies to travel around. Safer for humans and wildlife, means less pollution, less noise, and less disturbance to the wildlife we share the resort with.
- Energy reduction targets incorporated into every manager’s performance indicators.
- A range of energy-saving initiatives and joint projects with Envirowise to reduce incoming packaging, which cut by 34% the amount of waste going to landfill.
After just a year of opening, Bluestone has already planted 200,000 additional trees and plants and developed land to encourage and attract a much wider variety of wildlife and wildflower flora and fauna to the site.
Bluestone presented with the Wales Environment Award at the Business in the Community 2010 awards, for reducing the impact on the environment.
A new partnership is established with The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. The Trust and Bluestone worked together in the past, but the new partnership marks the start of a new chapter in which the Trust will be undertaking a range of projects aimed at helping deepen Bluestone guests’ understanding of the natural environment.
On a visit to Bluestone to launch the partnership, Welsh naturalist Iolo Williams praised the careful transformation of ecologically-poor farmland into Wales’ only national park resort is enabling Pembrokeshire wildlife to thrive.
Said Iolo: “It’s not often you see a development like this which so easily marries a boost to the economy with a boost for local wildlife. In my experience, that’s pretty unique. It’s the first time I’ve been here and what struck me immediately is how prepared to take new ideas on board the team here are.
“I also think it’s fabulous that while the new partnership paves the way for even closer working, the Trust has been involved here right from the word go. That’s the way it should be, so this is a model example in many ways.”
- A new Diamond Wood is planted at Bluestone in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. One of only two in Wales, over 120 people join broadcaster and wildlife expert Iolo Williams to help plant some of the 35,000 native trees at Bluestone to create an additional natural woodland habitat within the 500-acre site. The new wood will join two historical woodlands, Canaston and Minwear for the first time in centuries, creating an important habitat for wildlife in the area.
- Business Commitment to the Environment Awards names Bluestone as the winner of the Management for Resource Efficiency Premier Award 2012 and awarded the prestigious Community and Environmental Action Award by the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA).
- Launch of a new 350-metre shared-use path between Canaston Woods and Bluestone National Park Resort. The project was carried out by Pembrokeshire County Council is funded by the Welsh Government as part of a series of ‘active travel’ improvements for Pembrokeshire. This new path allows everyone to explore this area of Canaston Woods safely and provide a designated route directly to Bluestone.
- As part of our commitment to Zero waste to landfill, a new scheme is launched where general waste is sent to be burnt.
- The Bluestone Apiary is set up in partnership with independent Apiary Manager Paul Eades to produce Bluestone Honey. It currently has three hives, each of which has approximately 50,000 bees at the height of the season. The bees are intended to increase the pollination of wildflower species and to enhance engagement opportunities with guests around environmental and biodiversity issues. They produce delicious honey, which you can buy in our village shop.
- Toad Patrol is set up during the annual breeding season. The scheme aims to reduce casualties on roads near the lake with guests encouraged to join in.
- New bug hotels are built and placed around the resort to provide new habitats for insects.
- Electric car-charging ports are installed in the Bluestone car park as a sign of our commitment to renewable transportation.
- Serendome open! Under the dome, hundreds of trees and plants have been planted. As well as adventure, it also doubles up as a way to help save water. the rain outside is collected from its roof (and our other major buildings) and redirected to our attenuation pond. The water at the pond is UV treated and then used for watering the hundreds of trees inside the Serendome and the hundreds of acres across the resort.
- A new Head of Corporate Responsibility is recruited. Marten Lewis, who worked with Bluestone through the Darwin Centre. He joined the Bluestone Foundation Steering Group in 2010 helping to oversee the introduction of their Community Fund which has gifted over £140,000 to Pembrokeshire causes since 2013.
- Marten Lewis visits Portfield School to give a workshop on the ecosystem at Bluestone. During the session, the children were presented with 24 bird box kits which were made by Bluestone’s Ranger Rob MacKeen. The children were then invited to Bluestone for the day to watch them being placed around the woodland.
- A staff awareness campaign is launched to reduce recyclable waste being put in black blags. The training was successful in reducing the volume of general waste by 10 tonnes per month (ave). Increasing our recycling rate from 43% to 56%.
- A group of hedgehogs from the Pembrokeshire Hogspital are brought to their new home on a ten-acre release site that has been specially prepared for them. Ranger Rob designed and made three hedgehog huts that make warm and safe environments for the hedgehogs when they are ready to be released back into the wild.
- A new Otter Holt is installed on the Pen Glyn brook, with the help of PCNP rangers, and otters are spotted for the first time in the area for many years.
- As part of our commitment to recycling, all restaurant food waste is sent to anaerobic digestion. Digested locally at Asguard Renewables in Cardigan, the process creates Methane (gas) which is used to generate electricity for the National Grid, and wet waste (slurry) which is used by local farmers to inject into the soil as fertiliser. In one year alone, over 70 tonnes (about an elephant a month in weight) of food waste was diverted from black bins.
- Electricity consumption was reduced by 3.5%.
- A new grain dispenser is fitted around the pond, so guests can feed the ducks rather than using bread, which is dangerous for them. Dispensing a handful of local barely, the grain is part of a nationwide campaign to stop feeding ducks bread, called Breaducation.
- Portfield School, Haverfordwest make a return visit to Bluestone to watch more nest boxes being placed in the woodland. As part of an initiative of National Nest Box Week, Bluestone’s Ranger Rob had previously visited the school to build nest boxes with pupils for different types of small native birds. Each box is numbered so the children will learn which birds nested in their boxes. Working with local ecologists, Bluestone will survey all the boxes to reveal more about the amazing wildlife on the resort - and across Pembrokeshire. The local school pupils have used scrap wood from Bluestone to make the nest boxes, helping on Bluestone’s mission to up-cycle and reuse as much as possible.
- Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, holds a workshop at Bluestone National Park Resort to share best practices and ideas to help shape the Future Generations Report for 2020. The event, organised by the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and Marten Lewis, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Bluestone – and facilitated by BITC Cymru – brought together a number of Bluestone’s community and supply partners to discuss some of the key issues and potential opportunities in Pembrokeshire and Wales.
- In the lodges, a food recycling scheme is launched. Guests are asked to deposit their food waste into a brown bag. This will join food waste from our outlets to be sent for Anaerobic Digestion.
- Bluestone is rewarded with the international Green Key award in recognition of its excellent environmental standards. Green Key is the fastest-growing eco-label for the tourism industry and extends over 65 countries. In Wales, Green Key is operated by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, which also manages the Blue Flag program. Bluestone is amongst hospitality industry leaders in Wales who have been awarded Green Key accreditation, which demonstrates their ongoing commitment to high environmental standards.
Did you know?
That's just a tiny overview of what we've been doing at the resort and there's much more going on at all times of the year. Here are just a few things that might surprise you about Bluestone!
1. 60% of Bluestone’s woods are regarded as Plantation on Ancient Woodland site with 18% regarded as Ancient Semi- Natural Woodland. To ensure this is properly maintained we have a dedicated woodland management plan dealing with tree management.
2. There are five badger sets found around various areas of the resort. Many have cameras set-up so we can monitor the different groups, and we often come into work to see footage of badgers playing in the woods overnight.
3. We're passionate about toads, so much so we're introduced our own Toad Patrol. These are carried out annually during the breeding season to reduce casualties on roads near the lake with guests encouraged to join in. We are also involved with Pembs ARG (Pembrokeshire Amphibian and Reptile Group) and hope to involve the group in future surveying and habitat work.
4. To encourage the local bat population, we’ve introduced measures to encourage insects for food include the maintenance of rough pasture, hay meadow habitat, woodlands, the new Diamond wood plantation, hedgerows, other linear features, and open water.
5. As part of our ongoing nest project, we’ve installed more boxes to encourage Tawny and Little Owls. Camera traps are put in place to monitor their activity. We already have a pair of Barn Owls living at Bluestone and we have recently seen Owlets from one of our boxes.
6. Bluestone might be very green - but we're still planting more trees! Over the last decade, we've planted close to one million plants and trees, installing hibernacula, refugia, and log/rock piles in several areas of the resort in an effort to increase suitable habitat.
7. Our resort has been designed with wildlife in mind! To encourage open spaces where wildlife - and people - can roam free, there are no fences between lodges, and you'll often find animals like rabbits and ducks roaming free.
8. To reduce light pollution, Bluestone has minimal lighting. This means the wildlife won't be affected by artificial lighting allowing the resort to disappear once it's dark, and let the animals roam unaffected. It's also good for your own sleep pattern, so it's a double win.
Find out about some of the work we've been doing at Bluestone.