We feel very fortunate to live and work in a beautiful old house in a lovely part of the world. We are very aware that living here carries with it certain responsibilities: to the house, to the local area and to the environment.
Plas Efenechtyd was built about 200 years ago as a working farm. It was built from local materials using local labour and was designed to be elegant and comfortable. The house has changed little in the last 50 years, at least from the outside, the biggest change being the division into two smaller houses in the 1980s.
As we update the facilities of the house, we try to minimise our impact on the environment, for example using eco-friendly paints and keeping as many original features as possible. We plan to replace old light bulbs with energy efficient ones, put thermostats on all the radiators and increase insulation wherever we can. We have installed a biomass boiler for heating and hot water. This runs on wood pellets made from a by-product from a local company which produces fence posts.
The Local Area
if you look at the Ordnance Survey map in our dining room, drawn up in 1899, you’ll notice something extraordinary: it’s almost identical to the present day map. The town of Ruthin has grown over the years and continues to thrive and grow, but Efenechtyd and especially the land around our house, has remained virtually unchanged with no new roads or buildings for over a hundred years.
We hope our business helps the local economy. We encourage our guests to spend money in the local shops and restaurants, we buy all our food, building materials and appliances from local firms and believe we have a minimal impact on the environment. We buy sausages and bacon from local butchers, free range eggs come from our own hens, vegetables and fruit are bought fresh from the local community shop when possible.
We are firm believers of “reduce, re-use, recycle”.
We try to reduce wastage by cooking your breakfast on demand which takes a little longer but means you get freshly cooked food and we don’t waste anything.
We try to buy fruit and vegetables loose and not in plastic wrappings.
We save on food miles by using our own fruit to make jam for breakfast.
We change bedding every four days (if you stay that long) to reduce washing and hence water usage.
We use canvas shopping bags. (Free plastic bags are a thing of the past now in Wales. They cost 5p.) We re-use jam jars and have a really useful compost heap.
We recycle just about everything! We’re rather proud of the fact that each week we only have one (small) bin bag to leave out for the Council to collect even during our busiest times. We are lucky in having a council with a good re-cycling policy.
As you may imagine, we are surrounded by wildlife. We regularly see blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long tailed tits, robins, sparrows, wrens, woodpeckers, nut hatches, pheasants and chaffinches. Unfortunately, in the summer the rabbits and squirrels have their own form of recycling – they eat our fruit before we can get to it!
And, as part of our ethical policy, we use Fairtrade products wherever we can. For example, our guests can enjoy Fairtrade tea, coffee and drinking chocolate in the bedrooms. The sugar used for making jam is also Fairtrade.