Green Tourism - Eco friendly, Cycling holidays in Herefordshire
We were flattered to be included in Herefordshire's campaign to showcase "Green" companies in the county who are working to reduce their carbon footprint. Here is a copy of the article and it sums up well our approach. We have been working to encourage people to travel by bike for 30 years now, and have thousands of happy cycling holiday customers, who have the cycling holiday bug, and keep returning to their bike for their holidays. Find a Herefordshire cycling holiday to suit you on this page of our website and make your New Year Green resolution to holiday by bike.
Wheely Wonderful Cycling
Kay and Chris Dartnell set up Wheely Wonderful Cycling 30 years ago to provide cycling holidays in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Wales. Based in Elton, 5 miles west of Ludlow, they converted some redundant farm buildings into a home for themselves and a centre for cycle touring. Holidays by bike were a small niche market at the time they set up… now there is a great deal more interest sparked by the Olympics, lockdown and electric bikes.
Wheely Wonderful Cycling holidays are themed to entice people to cycle: through Herefordshire gardens, cider orchards or the Black and White Villages, or combining a cycle tour with a canoe trip down the Wye. The holiday packages include bike hire, accommodation, maps and route guides, luggage transfer and emergency back-up. Kay and Chris work with about 30 other local businesses to provide accommodation and taxi services.
Wheely Wonderful Cycling is inherently a low-carbon business. It was set up with an aim of encouraging people to cycle more and look after the environment, and has won numerous ‘Green’ awards over the years.
Kay and Chris chose to base themselves near Ludlow in north Herefordshire as it has good rail access as well as great cycling - they provide information to help their guests arrive by public transport. Their house and business have their own water supply, septic tank, and are heated by renewable energy
They also run a smallholding which they operate as sustainably as possible, for example by planting trees and working to conserve local wildlife.
The couple have recently invested in an electric vehicle (for luggage transfers), meaning that once guests arrive, their impact on the environment is very minimal.
Impact so far
Reducing carbon emissions An average customer covers about 25 miles a day by bike for three days, bringing much needed income to rural B&Bs, inns, hotels, teashops and visitor attractions – with zero emissions from transport.
Saving paper Kay and Chris stopped printing traditional holiday brochures in 2014 and relied on their website for promotion. Business boomed, profitability increased and they saved half a tonne of paper per year.
Reducing petrol consumption By switching to an electric car for luggage transfers, they have avoided 5000 diesel miles per year, saved money on fuel and used the opportunity to promote the benefits of electric vehicles (dispelling many of those myths about the difficulties of charging, battery renewal etc).
Reducing electricity usage The business is already supplied entirely and the couple are also working to minimise energy consumption. Last winter they super insulated their office – reducing electricity usage by 30%.
Journey to net zero
Kay and Chris continue to refine their cycling holiday itineraries every year to reduce carbon, for example by increasing the number of nights where customers stay in one place, searching out accommodation with the best green credentials or optimising luggage transfer routes.
Their future plans also include converting one of their barns into a low- or zero-carbon holiday let.
Why they signed up to the ’30 for 2030’
“Cycling holidays sound very green, but travel is controversial in a green economy; customers have to travel to us (many are from overseas), and despite our best efforts most journeys to this area involve a car or a plane,” Kay explains. “We would really like to encourage visitors to offset their travel emissions and hope that the 30 for 2030 will help us find a local solution to this”.
In their own words
“We want to make it really easy for people to access the pleasure of cycle touring, even those who are new to the activity. We hope that introducing people to the ease of exploring on two wheels will encourage them to leave the car behind more often in everyday life, as well as on holiday.”