Helpful Holidays Extend Green Cottages Scheme To 20 Properties

West Country self-catering specialist, Helpful Holidays, has extended its green cottages scheme to 20 environmentally friendly properties in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. Cottages qualifying for the initiative, which aims to encourage home owners to think sustainably, are featured in a new brochure and carry a green tree symbol.

Each cottage is assessed by Helpful Holidays against 69 aspects which help them make a lesser impact on the environment. Particular regard is given to energy, pollution and water as well as the environmental effect on local wildlife and landscapes.

In addition the agency looks at whether the cottage owners have provided information on public transport, bike hire, walking routes and farmers’ markets as well as suggestions for car-free days out and will provide practical advice to holiday home owners to improve their sustainability.

Among the holiday homes recently qualifying for the Green Cottage scheme is Puddaven (ref A205), which sleeps four. Around 2.5 miles from North Bovey in Dartmoor National Park, it has been beautifully converted from a barn on three levels with beams, natural colours and good fabrics. A free standing bath in the window recess of the ground floor bedroom has long views to Easdon Tor, while the second ensuite bedroom is under the eaves on the top floor. A camp fire is available between July and October when guests can sleep out under the stars; there’s also 32 acres of farmland to explore. Prices start from £343 (£86 per person) for a week’s stay; pets welcome.

Other places on Dartmoor include Three Hares Barn (ref A84), an upside down, beamed cottage for four on a farmstead near Chagford with ponies, rare breed sheep and hens at prices from £324 per week (£81 per person) and Marden (ref A9), two miles down the pretty Teign Valley from Dunsford. Sleeping five, this granite cottage is surrounded by 50 acres of mixed woodland and pasture with a two acre lake, where mallard and kingfishers can sometimes by seen – great for anyone with a passion for wildlife. Prices start from £279 per week (£56 per person); pets welcome.

At Ringmore in Devon’s South Hams, Ayrmer Path (ref L79) is a large detached period house for eight with stunning, uninterrupted views to the sea. A footpath leads down 600yds to the little shingle/sand beach and South West Coast Path, an unspoilt haven for rare birds and dragonflies. Prices start from £805 per week (£101 per person), pets welcome

For a family group or friends taking a break together Avocet (ref L153) is a huge, contemporary house for 12 at Bigbury-on-Sea just 200 yards up from the magnificent sandy beach; facing south, it has sensational panoramic views over the bay to Burgh Island and beyond. Every thought has gone into making this brand new seaside home stylish and superbly comfortable, while the latest green technology makes it possible to leave the smallest of footprints on the environment. Interiors are light, spacious and bright with good fabrics, relaxing colour schemes and oak or tiled floors throughout. On the seaward side there is a big, enclosed, lawned garden with a paved suntrap patio and six-personhot tub, all ideally positioned to while away lazy days or balmy evenings enjoying the captivating coastal views and fabulous sunsets. A week’s stay starts from £1,670 (£139 per person).

Further west at Edmonton in North Cornwall is Figtree Cottage (ref P44), which sleeps four. Converted from a barn, the upside down eco-friendly cottage is tucked away along a no through road with lovely long views, yet its just 500 yards from the village pub and Camel Trail. A week’s stay is from £370 per week (£93 per person); pets welcome.

For a copy of Helpful Holidays Green Cottages guide and their main brochure call 01647 434063 or visit www.helpfulholidays.com. Their full portfolio currently includes nearly 700 special places to stay sleeping 2 – 48 guests throughout Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.

Helpful Holidays is a recommended provider by Which? Travel, having come top in their members’ survey for 2012 and 2013, and won The Sunday Times 2013 travel editor’s choice award. In addition it won the 2013 British Travel Award in the Best Cottage/Self Catering Booking Company with between 600 and 2,000 rental units (UK properties)