Windsworth is one of the most sustainable eco-lodges in Cornwall. The Old Coach House is set on the coast of southern Cornwall, four miles from the fishing town of Looe. It’s located within Windsworth’s 70 acres of private wildlife reserve. The coach house is surrounded by woodland and meadows, so as you can imagine there is plenty to explore!
One of the highlights of this place has to be the home-built wood-fired hot tub, which can fit 2–3 people. Not only is it relaxing, but it’s also a good way to stargaze and look out for wild animals – especially after dusk. Use of the tub is an optional extra on request, as Windsworth’s owner likes to be sure that the wood and water needed to supply it are going to be used.
The land at Windsworth includes half a mile of a dog-friendly beach, so this is the perfect place to bring your pooch, as long as both of you are physically fit, capable of scrambling up and down the steep, steep slopes to the shore 300 feet below.
The owner of Windsworth has lived on the land since the 1980s, and brought up her four children there. In 2008, she decided to convert the unused old house into a place to stay for people who would appreciate the beauty of the land and the Cornish coast. Her aim was to accommodate those who’d like to learn about a sustainable lifestyle, and try it out for themselves. Read more about them here.
Lowest impact construction and operation
- The property has origins dating back probably over 1,000 years. In Victorian times, the building was used as a coach house, as part of a grand gentleman’s residence nearby (now ruined). So on converting the coach house for visitors, the infrastructure was already in place, reducing the carbon footprint of the conversion. And its operation has been rated as actually carbon negative!
Highest level of energy efficiency
- The old coach house is off the grid, with its lighting, mobile charger, and fridge/freezer powered by solar PV panels and a battery bank.
- The water used in the showers, sinks, and washbasins is heated by solar tubes and the woodburner range, whose wood is provided by the local tree surgeon, from trees that needed trimming or have died.
- To heat most of the house, the woodburner range is used, and there is another woodburner stove in the sitting room for the colder months.
- The woodburner range is also used for cooking food, though in warmer weather, most guests prefer to rely on the sun for hot water and cook on an LPG gas hob.
Pioneer in waste management
- Every possible item is reused, or if that’s not possible, most of the recycling is accepted by the local council; the soft plastic that it doesn’t take is sent to a private recycler instead.
Fully organic and chemical-free operation
- Windsworth’s owner is acutely aware of the facts that nearly all body care products and cleaning products, even ones labeled ‘eco’, ‘green’ etc, present hazards – mostly long-term hazards, so not immediately apparent – to both their users and the environment. So the house is cleaned with organic and non-toxic products, and visitors are encouraged to bring genuinely eco-friendly products with them.
- Small soaps are provided, as are small loofahs for washing up. NB The no-chemical policy means that, for example, spiders will come into the house in the autumn. Welcome them! They’re friends to us humans, because they eat the bugs that we don’t appreciate quite so much.
Actively protects nature and community
- To encourage guests to reduce their personal pollution in yet another way, Windsworth’s owner offers a 10% discount to guests who are long-distance walking the South West Coast Path or on a bicycle touring holiday.
- The owner has created her own private nature reserve: the Caradon Coastal Reserve; the result is a healthy ecosystem, with optimum biodiversity for the region – from earthworms to adders, from mayflies to peregrines, from shrews to badgers. Part of the management plan focuses on keeping goats, rare-breed sheep, and native ponies from time to time to graze the land, helping create flowering meadows, an ever rarer and more precious habitat in the UK.
- The owner of Windsworth is well-embedded in the local community. She’s on the committee of several local organizations, including the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Looe Marine Conservation Group. She’s also a South East Cornwall Tourism Association member and the Friends of Kilminorth Woods.
Most popular activities near Windsworth
- Scramble down to the beach and explore its rocks and seaweeds, shingle and sand
- Visit Looe Island, the jewel in the crown of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, and if you are lucky watch seals hauling out on the rocks
- Walk the wonderful South West Coast Path, which goes through the land at Windsworth
- Visit Seaton Valley Countryside Park, for walking and cycling
- Try your hand at some eco-friendly watersports at nearby Millendreath
- Visit the Monkey Sanctuary, whose land adjoins Windsworth