Sustainable Tourism

Where sustainability and luxury go hand-in-hand...

Achieving Green Tourism GOLD Status, the Dovecote Barns and it’s owners have a long standing commitment to sustainability and conservation.


From building construction to green energy, every aspect of the Dovecote Barns has sustainability built in.  A Visit England five-star standard sits comfortably alongside a Green Tourism Gold award status.

Read about our green story by clicking here.

Green Tourism Gold Award

Comfort without compromise, for you and the environment.

Car Charging Station

An electric car charging station is available for guests to allow you charge both your car and your own batteries overnight!  Bring either your 32amp charge cable with you please.  All electricity is 100% renewable with Green Energy.

Recycling and Composting

Recycling and composting facilities are encouraged with recycling bags and kitchen compost bins in each barn.

Eco-Laundry Room

The eco-laundry is a purpose-built communal laundry. It is always warm and makes a perfect drying room.

Local Produce and Partnerships

A ‘Yorkshire’ welcome basket is provided for both our short break and weekly stay guests. In it a selection of Yorkshire and locally grown produce is supplied as well as homemade bread.

We work with local people to help service your comfort, whether it be handmade soft furnishings, artwork on the walls, pampering you with beauty treatments, home chef or coach hire for large groups.

Purchasing Policy

Our complimentary toiletries are the Gilchrist & Soames ‘Bee Kind’ range, fully recyclable packing and printed with soya ink. They do not contain parabens, phthalates or artificial colours. A proportion of the proceeds from these products goes towards supporting honey bee and sustainable pollination research.

For cleaning products, washing up liquid, dishwasher tabs, etc we purchase the ECOVER and METHOD range of green products.  For items that cannot be sourced locally like coffee, we purchase FAIRTRADE branded items.

Renewable Energy

We have built a purpose-built boiler room to house the technology controls, boiler and thermal store.

The hot water generated ensures constant supply to your en-suite showers and baths. In addition, all properties are heated by under floor heating which is a healthier alternative to conventional radiators and is a more efficient form of central heating. Each area is thermostatically controlled for your comfort.

Electricity Production – Photovoltaic Cells

We produce more electricity than we use.   The surplus goes into the national grid, however to cover peak periods we are signed up to ‘Green Energy’ a company that only uses renewable sources for its electricity production.

Low energy bulbs and energy efficient ‘A’ rated appliances are installed throughout.


We encourage you to use the public bus service which operates from the barns into York city centre. Timetables and directions to bus stops as well as details of the ‘Park & Ride’ bus service operated from the York Designer Outlet are available on arrival.  The Arriva No. 42 Selby-York bus service has an online app.

There are walks in the guest information file as well as a copy of the cycle Sustrans ‘Solar System’ route which operates into York from nearby. We are members of the national Walkers and Cyclists Welcome schemes.

Creating & Maintaining Biodiversity

The farm aims to create and maintain biodiversity and wildlife habitats through such things as wilding and hedgerow management, providing wild bird cover and creating buffer strips alongside the edges of cropped fields. Thousands of hedgerow plants have been planted, acres of wild bird seed planted and dozens of bird and owl boxes put up to encourage the already large populations of bird species (incl 10 on the BTO red list).

We have a family of wild deer at the wood, and a large number of hares and owls.

Excellence in farming and conservation

Richard is a full time arable farmer, but in his spare time, he voluntarily hosts farm walks around the fields and does demonstrations at the farm for various interest groups eg. The University of York, RSPB and Wildlife and Nature Groups.

2021/22, Richard is the current NFU Chairman of the Environment Forum.

In 2018, Richard was the first ever recipient of the NFU ambassadorial farming award, the Meurig Raymond Award. 

In 2014, he was the winner of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society Tye Trophy for excellence in farming and conservation.

In 2013, he was the northern regional winner of the National RSPB Nature of Farming Awards.

In 2009, Richard was a finalist in the Countryside Farmer of the Year Awards.

“Through wildlife-friendly farming schemes and his own initiative, he has undertaken a huge amount of conservation work for the benefit of everything from butterflies and bats to skylarks and hares. The farm throngs with wildlife and is a joy to visit.”

Chris Tomson, RSPB