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Wales on Rails & The Green Traveller

The Green Traveller Digest


Welcome to my latest round up of news about green travel. This newsletter is written by me, Richard Hammond, the founder of Green Traveller.


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HELP FOR UKRAINE The 'Travel for Ukraine' online auction #Travel for Ukraine is an auction of holidays, hotel stays and experiences to raise money for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. It's organised by The Healthy Holiday Company and Travel Tonic in partnership with The Sunday Times and others in the travel industry. The online auction will close at 23.59 GMT this Sunday, 8th May.

 

Latest news about Green Travel


The Green Traveller Twenty years in the making, my book The Green Traveller – conscious adventure that doesn't cost the earth – has been published this week by Pavilion Books. It's a back-to-basics 'how to' guide to green travel with tips on planning overland travel, where to find sustainable food and drink, how to pack and travel plastic-free, and how to book organised green holidays, as well as lots of slow travel and car-free itineraries. It is also peppered throughout with Top 10's, including off-grid places to stay, hostels near railway stations, campsites reachable by public transport, greenway cycle routes, foraging breaks, treehouse holidays, rewilding projects, wildlife watching trips, city breaks, citizen science projects, positive-impact adventures, and many more. The book has been produced by an outstanding team, overseen by the experienced commissioning editor Sophie Allen at Pavilion Books; beautifully designed by Tina Smith; wonderfully illustrated by Naomi Wilkinson; and the stunning photos are mostly by James Bowden. It can be ordered via Ethical Book Search, at Bookshop.org and on Amazon.


Wales on Rails launched Wales on Rails is a new initiative to promote the use of public transport throughout Wales. The website walesonrails.co.uk brings together the Wales and Borders rail network, the 12 heritage and steam railways, and long distance bus routes, showcasing how the sustainable transport network can be used to travel around the country to a range of tourist attractions. The website includes 1-7 day itineraries and a handy interactive map of all the public transport routes.

Train along coast with sea and ruined castle in background
The Cambrian Coast Line along the west coast of Wales. Photo: Arriva Trains Wales

Explore measures the carbon of all trips Small group adventure travel company Explore Worldwide has individually-calculated carbon footprints for every one of its 500+ tours. The company has unveiled the results of its four month long carbon-measurement project, which it says is the largest of its kind in the industry to date. The company says the average trip carbon footprint is 632kg. Its lowest-footprint trip, Walk the South Downs is calculated to emit 59kg per person, while the lowest 7-night trips are Cycle Canal de Midi and Active Turkey at 79kg per person. Explore says carbon measurement is one part of its three-step Climate Action Plan to Measure, Reduce and Mitigate carbon so it can reduce its carbon footprint across its operations by 50% before 2030.

Group of people walking among scrub with daysacks
Explore has measured the carbon footprint of all its adventure holidays. Photo: Wix Media

UK's "First Hotel Forest Garden" opens in North Yorkshire Raithwaite Sandsend Hotel has announced it has created "the UK’s very first hotel forest garden" in North Yorkshire – to supply the hotel’s kitchen year-round. Over 500 trees and shrubs have been planted in the grounds of the hotel’s 100-acre estate – between the sea and the moors – to create a biodiverse edible landscape for the hotel’s chefs and mixologists to pick from.

Beginner's Guide to Walking Holidays Slow holiday company Inntravel has published an online guide to walking holidays with tips on how novices can choose their first ever break on foot, whether at home or abroad. Topics featured include avoiding the busy honeypot sites, whether to opt for an itinerant hotel-to-hotel or a single centre holiday; tips for judging how difficult the walking will be; whether to opt for the flexibility of a self-guided holiday with route notes and maps provided, or a guided group walking; what to pack for a walking trip; and preparing and getting fit ahead of the holiday.

Sweden’s first Unesco Global Geopark The table mountain region of the Platåbergens landscape has been named as Sweden’s first Unesco Global Geopark. The geopark status means that it contains "geological sites and landscapes that are considered unique and of international importance" that showcase the connection "between our planet’s history and human development in the area".

Introducing #KipKiosk online store for small businesses A new spin on the ‘shoppable’ holiday cottage, #KipKiosk is an online store from holiday rental agency #KipHideaways. Selling pieces by independent makers and small businesses found in the company’s rentals, they range from decoupage shells to zero-waste blankets.

Eco villas in Tuscany Villa rental specialists, Tuscany Now & More, Italy, has launched a portfolio of 'sustainable villas' that they say they have done in response to "an influx of enquiries for destinations with an ecological benefit". Included in the sustainable portfolio are Granaio Lavandoloso, Umbria, which runs entirely on solar energy; Santa Dieci, Siena, which promotes 'natural' wine; and Il Soldano, East of Florence, which has charging stations for electric cars (type 2 connector) available in the garage for the guests of the house (at an additional price of Euro 150 per week).

Table and sofa with mountain in background
Villa Granaio Lavandoloso runs on solar power

Children's Water Safety leaflet published A beautifully illustrated children's water safety leaflet has been produced by Ironbridge Coracle Trust based on advice issued by the Royal Life Saving Society. The Trust is also the subject of Rhiannon Batten's recent article in the Guardian about test driving a new coracle hire service in Ironbridge, tapping into the basket-shaped boats' long history along the river there. For more information: ironbridgecoracles.org. For upcoming events and activities: facebook.com/IronbridgeCoracleTrust

Artwork showing two men in swimsuits
Championing water safety. Artwork by Cal Westbrook - calwestbrook.com

SNCF launches mainline Ouigo service French transport company SNCF has launched a mainline low cost Ouigo service, reports the International Rail Journal, and says it will increase the frequency of the new Paris Austerlitz - Nantes and Paris Bercy - Lyon Perrache service in May.

Carbon footprint of a ski holiday Ski Flight Free has published an infographic showing the carbon cost of a day's skiing. The data was based on a study by the French ski areas of La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand and Tignes, which concluded that the carbon footprint of a day’s skiing is 48.9 kgCO2. However, Ski Flight Free says that "the top line figure contains a lot of variability depending on individual choices, the most important of which is how you choose to travel to resort".


Going green in the Malverns Malvern Hills District Council has launched a green tourism scheme to recognise the efforts of local tourism businesses in reducing their impact on the environment. The Green Mark, which is specifically for tourism and hospitality businesses operating across The Malverns, has already been awarded to The Cottage in the Wood Hotel, The Fold in Bransford, Rowley Farm Holidays, Black Dog Adventures and Hazelhurst Farm.

How to urban forage safely The BBC has produced a handy guide to urban foraging in spring and early summer, with tips on foraging safely for wild garlic, dandelions, nettles, and elderflower.


Elsewhere in the world this week Sextantio Rwanda, Lake Kivu opens Sextantio Rwanda has opened The Capanne Project that aims to support the local community in Rwanda by encouraging guests to make donations rather than pay traditional set room rates. Guests can padde in dugout canoes on the lake and go on trips to the Nyungwe Forest National Park for sightings of a dozen primate species. Sextantio’s founder, Daniele Kihlgren, hopes that guests will also embrace village life, visiting schools, health centres and learning about the sustainable farming practices used by the community's population. Donations are directed to "the neediest in Rwanda" to provide them with health insurance.

Women canoeing in a dug out canoe on water
Travelling by dugout canoe at Sextantio Rwanda

Good news for... Natural History Education: A new natural history GCSE is to produced by 2025. According to the Department for Education's Education Hub: "The new Natural History qualification will enable young people to explore the world by learning about organisms and environments, environmental and sustainability issues, and gain a deeper knowledge of the natural world around them. They will also develop the skills to help them carve a future career in the natural world if they wish to – for example observation, description, recording and analysis, through sustained and structured field study." The GCSE is currently being developed by the OCR exam board.

Bad news for... Birds: A global review has found that billions of birds are disappearing because of humanity’s impact on Earth, the Guardian reports. It says that populations of half of all 11,000 species of bird spanning the globe are falling, while just 6% are increasing.

My Tip of the Week City to Sea, an environmental organisation on a mission to stop plastic pollution, has produced a handy app (refill.org.uk) to help you locate over 400 local refill schemes across the UK, places with discounts if you bring your own cup, as well as over 270,000 refill stations worldwide that offer water refills.

And Finally... Hotels with natural swimming pools The Guardian (Aquatic bliss: 10 of Europe's best holiday sites with natural pools) and the Telegraph (behind its paywall) have both published an edited extract of my feature on hotels with natural swimming pools from my book The Green Traveller. Places featured include a treehouse camp in France, an organic farm in Ibiza, and this beauty in Tuscany... Jump in, the water's lovely!