Sheepdrove is owned by environmental campaigners Peter and Juliet Kindersley, and has, for decades, been leading the way with sustainable and environmentally responsible practices. They are passion about beautiful planet and all that live on it.
The Sheepdrove story began over 40 years ago, when the Kindersleys bought a dilapidated farmhouse on the top of the windswept Berkshire Downs to practice their dream of self-sufficiency. Over the years they purchased additional land and have grown Sheepdrove to its current 2,500 acres.
“Raising awareness about the importance of making sustainable choices in life for all occasions, whether every day or exceptional, is and always has been at the heart of Sheepdrove’s philosophy. Eco-friendly weddings are our passion and everything we do at Sheepdrove helps to make sure that weddings here are environmentally friendly.” Rosie Kindersley, Sheepdrove
Built and furnished using sustainable materials
A key aim for the architects and planners of Sheepdrove Eco Centre was that the building should reflect the aims and philosophy of Sheepdrove and it’s owners. The construction therefore had to be as ethical and environmentally responsible as possible and was informed by the latest thinking on sustainability.
Soon after opening, they were awarded the ‘Special Award for Sustainability’ in the Civic Trust Awards 2005.
The building defines an environmentally sympathetic approach with ground-breaking architecture. The incorporation of recycled recycled, renewable and local materials, and environmentally friendly energy, such as wind and solar, help meet the centre’s heating and electricity demands.
- All timber is from responsibly managed and from renewable sources in the UK wherever possible. The main timber frames are made from Douglas Fir, and were installed using innovative new 21st century methods as well as ancient engineering principles
- The roof shingles, outside boarding are also made from wood, but hardwearing Cedar
- The toilet cubicle partitions are made from recycled toothpaste tubes and the washbasins from recycled CD’s
- Linoleum flooring was used throughout the farm offices for its environmental properties.
- The dining room chairs are made from recycled paper
- Chalk from the excavations of the land has been used to form a rammed earth wall. The remainder of the chalk was used around the farm to create additional interest
The building was designed so that the materials can be reused, or recycled when its come to the end of its life.
Efficiency is the key – managing water and energy consumption
- The venue is designed to make the most of natural ventilation, light and passive solar heating with high performance double glazing has been used throughout the building
- Sheepdrove currently generates electricity using it’s two 5 kw wind turbines and 900 solar PV panels
- Heat exchanges are used on the kitchen extractor to recover waste heat
- Highly efficient compact fluorescent lamps are extensively used throughout the building
- Waterless urinals and auto-stop aerating taps are used to reduce water consumption
- The farm has an underground aquafer/bore hole. Water is pumped up to supply the centre, accommodation and properties on the farm. It passes through filtration systems to remove sediment and nitrates, to ensure it is safe to consume
- Only two small gas-fired boilers are required to heat the whole building due to the high levels of insulation and because they use solar panels to preheat the water supply to the boilers, they ensure they run at their maximum efficiency. In the future they hope to move to new sustainable technologies, such as air source heat pumps
Leading the way by continuing to invest in nature
Sheepdrove are continually working to improve their sustainable management of energy, water, soil and other natural resources. They invest in our natural heritage, with projects to conserve and enhance biodiversity.
We have witnessed the miraculous generosity of nature as the countryside around us has come back to life and, with the return of myriad birds, wild flowers, small mammals, reptiles and insect life, land which was turning into an arid prairie has been transformed to a rich tapestry of wildlife.” Peter Kindersley
In 2020 they started out on a rewilding journey, broadening their already rich mosaic of habitats they have on the land.
Rewilding is the restoration of ecosystems with the intent that nature can, eventually, take care of itself. It will help to reinstate natural processes on the land so that they can welcome more of the birds, mammals, invertebrates and plants that have suffered huge losses as a result of modern farming practices. Allowing them to shape the landscape and the habitats on the land.
They will allow natural dispersal of seeds from existing trees, hedgerows and shrub with some supplementary re-planting of veteran trees in the ancient woodland. Woodland pasture creation requires grazing herbivores, they are currently experimenting with sheep, cattle and red deer.
In addition to the conservation projects, Sheepdrove continue to invest in new, innovative sustainable solutions.
A sustainable events and wedding venue
Sheepdrove is available for weddings, events and natural burials, as well as hosting guests for overnight stays in their converted farm buildings and secluded lake side Boathouse.
The estate is vast and they have a wealth of both indoor and outdoor spaces, including the aromatic physic garden, planted by the renowned herb grower, Jekka McVicar. Each bed has a theme and includes plants used in aromatherapy, culinary herbs, apothecary herbs and medicinal herbs for animals. Neal’s Yard Remedies is a sister concern and their herbal remedies are present in the garden.
Together we can drive sustainable change
We’re so proud to welcome Sheepdrove as a partner of the Sustainable Wedding Alliance and believe that together we can raise awareness and tackle attitudes towards climate change, and drive sustainable change in the wedding industry.
If you’d like to find out more about Sheepdrove and their sustainable practices, you can get in touch with them via their website.