• Richard Hammond

Treehotel Sweden and New Hiking Trails in Spain

Updated: Mar 25

The Green Traveller Digest


Welcome to my latest round up of news, features and comments on green travel.

This newsletter is written by me, Richard Hammond, the founder of Green Traveller.


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HELP FOR UKRAINE Transport: Trainline has published advice for refugees travelling from Ukraine to other countries in Europe, including a list of train and bus operators offering free transport for refugees from Ukraine to Europe as well as information on the rights Ukrainian refugees have in the EU (available in Ukrainian). Hospitality: Gemma Bowes provides a round-up in the Guardian of the many initiatives offered by organisations in the travel industry to support refugees from Ukraine, including: Hospitality for Ukraine, which is encouraging those in the hospitality sector to offer free accommodation for refugees; Airbnb's provision of short-term housing for refugees; and Hospitality Helps, which is connecting refugees with hotels willing to provide free rooms in European cities.

 

Latest news about Green Travel:

New 'biosphere' treehouse at Sweden's Treehotel The Treehotel, in Swedish Lapland, has announced a new addition to its unique collection of arboreal abodes. The new 'Biosphere' includes 350 bird houses and is "designed to attract wildlife and to fully immerse guests in the surrounding forest". It's the eighth room at the Treehotel; existing structures include unique designs created by some of Scandinavia’s most renowned architects, from Snöhetta and Rintala Eggerstsson to Tham & Videgård. To get a sense of the background to the Treehotel, here's a review by Rhiannon Batten of the original treehouse when it first opened. The new Biosphere structure will be open to visitors in May.

Bird nests surrounding treehouse suspended in forest
The new 'Biosphere' at Treehotel. Image by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

How far can you drive an electric vehicle without charging? The average electric vehicle can now travel for 198 miles on a full charge, but the UK's five most popular models keep going for 280 miles, on average, according to 'The Eco Experts' who provide advice for UK homeowners on eco-friendly options. Their latest report, Electric Vehicle Statistics 2022: State of the Industry, says that "if you were driving north from the centre of London, you could make it to Birmingham, Leeds, or Manchester with some juice left in the tank. And if you wanted to go south, you could get to Exeter and even Plymouth without needing to recharge – and if you’re looking westwards, Swansea is well within range".

Graph showing electric car ranges
Graph provided by The Eco Experts

New eco adventures in Spain A collection of new outdoor eco adventures has been launched in Sierra Espuña Nature Park and its surroundings, in Murcia, southeast Spain. The itineraries are categorised into six themes – Adventure; Among Birds; On Wheels; Panoramic Moment; Flavour Route; and Paths – and have been designed "with visitors of all different ages and physical conditions in mind, offering distinctive ways in which to enjoy the fresh air and direct contact with nature".

Hiker walking on path with hillside in the background
Hiking in Sierra Espuña Nature Park, Murcia. Photo: Angell Ortiz

Going green with Caledonian Travel Coach holiday specialist Caledonian Travel is undertaking a green makeover of its fleet of coaches. Replacing the company's iconic red lion with a new green counterpart is part of Caledonian's wider campaign to highlight the green credentials of coach holidays. In a statement the company says: "At a time when people are looking to make better eco-friendly choices to reduce their carbon footprint, coach travel is recognised as the most sustainable mode of transport for holiday choices and will play a key role as the UK aims to reach its net zero target by 2050." Citing figures from a 2019 Confederation of Passenger Transport report, it asserts that "a 15% increase in coach passenger journeys by British people each year would lead to approximately 47 million fewer cars on the road, saving over a quarter of a million tonnes of carbon dioxide and significantly reducing congestion on our roads."

Two new hiking trails in West Sweden The Biosphere Trail is a new 138 km long-distance path in Västergötland, running from Mariestad to Läckö Castle via Kinnekulle. The trail explores one of the Biosphere Reserves chosen by UNESCO to create a long-term sustainable relationship between people and their local environment. Also new is the Kroppefjäll Trail, a 32 km route traversing West Sweden’s largest wilderness area, in Dalsland. The trail open in June with more stages, shelters, boardwalks and waymarks taking walkers through areas of dense spruce woodland and wetlands in the company (if you're lucky) of moose and buzzards.

Slow Travel in Herefordshire The Black & White Villages Trail – first launched in the 1980s – has been re-launched this year with a new route for cyclists, a dedicated family itinerary, circular walks and public transport options. Visit Herefordshire is breathing new life into the route (much of the route explores Herefordshire's cider country), launching an updated guide with a dedicated cycle route that can be downloaded to Strava. Specialist local cycle operator Wheely Wonderful Cycling is also offering self-guided cycling trips along the route, with accommodation, luggage transfer, bike hire and maps included. Based in the village of Weobley, the trips take in a string of black and white villages over three days' pedalling. Follow the conversation on social via a dedicated hashtag #blackandwhitebuzz.

Great West Way Launches new ‘Journey of Discovery Map’ A new map has been produced to help visitors explore the Great West Way – the route between London and Bristol – in a sustainable way, travelling on GWR trains and buses using the Great West Way Discoverer pass. Chris Lund of Great Western Railway said the Great West Way Discoverer pass "joins up the big-draw locations, such as Bath, Bristol and Windsor with lesser-known but equally interesting market towns, chocolate box villages and quintessentially English countryside – all without needing to jump in a car. The route is easily accessible for all visitors at only £139 for a 7-day pass for international visitors and options to spilt to an East and West ticket for domestic visitors – it’s truly flexible and great value for money”. The map is the latest initiative promoting the route, others include a guide to the Kennet & Avon Canal, a specialist Food & Drink Map, and 125 Things To Do Along the Great West Way.

Yorkshire Wolds Way turns 40 The Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The 79-mile walking route stretches from the Humber estuary to Filey Brigg, on the Yorkshire coast via wooded slopes and tranquil valleys. You can find details of events and activities celebrating the anniversary, as well as a downloadable Yorkshire Wolds guide, on a special section of the Visit East Yorkshire website.

New interactive map for Camino Lebaniego A new interactive map has been published showcasing local culture and activities along the Camino Lebaniego, a 75km hiking trail which runs from San Vicente de la Barquera (just off the northern part of the Camino de Santiago) to the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana. Experiences highlighted on the new map include the Orulisa winery, Las Cortes ecological farm, and Las Brañas de Pendes cheese factory. The pilgrimage route of Lebaniego will celebrate its Jubilee Year in 2023-24.

Walkers with walking poles looking at a map in front of a church
Walkers at Monastery Santo Toribo on the Camino Lebaniego

This week Good news for... Green Sea Turtles: The Times reports that, thanks to a ban on hunting turtles on the Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles in 1968, the number of green sea turtles (listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) on the atoll has expanded fivefold in the 50 years since the hunting ban was brought in, "proving how effective such measures can be".

Bad news for... P&O Ferries: The Guardian reports that the UK ferry operator "has sacked 800 British crew across its entire fleet after stopping all its sailings on Thursday". If you're booked on a ferry and are unsure how it affects you and whether alternative arrangements are available, see the Twitter feed of P&O Ferries.

My Tip of the Week People Power: Find a citizen science project using Zooniverse, which lists dozens of projects, from seabird watches to exploring the secret life of the Mont Blanc massif. Closer to home, the Wildlife Trusts run national and regional citizen science projects throughout the UK, see: wildlifetrusts.org/citizen-science. The BBC website also has a useful section on where to find citizen science projects. And Finally... Green Traveller has a new look! Do check out the new design and navigation: greentraveller.co.uk