Long-term stewardship of Bowood’s unique resources has been at the core of the Estate’s management for over 250 years.
Bowood’s sustainability policy is to continually reduce the environmental impact of all of our activities. We are committed to safeguarding the Estate’s heritage assets and landscape while contributing to the fight against climate change. To achieve this and working towards the UK’s 2050 net-zero target, our key sustainability objectives are:
By 2022, to operate comprehensive recycling facilities in all business areas
By 2023, to substantively phase out single-use plastics in all business areas
By 2024, to purchase 50% of services & consumable supplies from within 50 miles
By 2025, to generate renewable energy on the Estate
By 2030, to reduce direct fossil fuel (oil, gas, and fuel) consumption by 50%
We manage habitats on a landscape-scale, including a 300-acre conservation area and wildlife sanctuary in Great Wood, and a wetland bird habitat surrounding the 35 acre Bowood Lake. We are proud to preserve a unique collection of 700 trees within the arboretum, including a number of incredibly rare or critically endangered species. In addition, we have reviewed and significantly reduced mowed areas within the Park by approximately 20%, thereby encouraging a greater diversity of flowers and wildlife.
The Estate’s farmland contains c.700 acres of permanent pasture, predominantly grazed by sheep. Not only is this grassland low or zero input, but the sheep provide a sustainable and effective way of managing the landscape, limiting the need for fossil-fuel-burning machinery. From 2022, the Estate is seeking to enter 500 acres of this grassland into Countryside Stewardship, to formalise these existing sustainable management practices.
Management of the 200-acre PGA Golf Course has evolved since its opening in 1992 to now incorporate c.60 acres of wildflower grassland. Other than limited sheep grazing once per year, these areas are left untouched to encourage a diversity of flowers and wildlife, directly alongside c.30,000 rounds of golf played each year.
Bowood employs two full-time foresters who maintain 750 acres of diverse woodland. We plant thousands of trees every year, totalling in excess of 1.2 million during the last 50 years. Our focus remains to plant native broadleaf species such as oak, beech, and chestnut. Conservative estimates are that Bowood’s woodland offsets more than 1,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
All trees planted at Bowood are carefully sourced from sustainable suppliers and then managed throughout their lifetime, through weed and vermin control, pruning and thinning. We are often asked, “why do you fell trees?”. This is done to remove weak, dead or dying trees, while allowing more light and air into the woodland to improve the remaining tree stock.
The majority of felled trees are either be sold as sustainable timber (for example, for use in construction), utilised to repair properties on the Estate, or used as woodchip for our 500kw biomass boiler. The biomass boiler provides the heating and hot water for the Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, and is entirely supplied with woodchip from trees grown on the Estate.
The primary water supply for Bowood House, the Gardens, and the PGA Golf Course irrigation system is the Estate’s private water supply. Use of the private supply to water the gardens and golf course materially reduces the Estate’s reliance on treated mains water. It is interesting to note that part of the private supply is still abstracted using the original c.1840 ‘ram’, which continues to reliably pump c.8 litres of spring water per hour 180 years after it was commissioned.
The historic Walled Gardens at Bowood House produce a wide range of vegetables and fruit. Where historically this produce was exclusively used within the private house, it now supplies the House and Hotel restaurants with local, seasonal produce. We continue to seek to source restaurant produce locally, wherever that is possible.
To encourage our guests and visitors to use sustainable transport, there are four rapid charging points at the Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort. This allows visitors to charge their environmentally friendly cars whilst visiting Bowood. We are actively seeking to roll out charging facilities in other areas on the Estate, encouraging sustainable travel to and from Bowood.
The Estate maintains 13 miles of footpath, bridleway, and permissive paths, which have never been busier than during 2020 and 2021. The extensive leisure and health facilities available at Bowood (including the House & Gardens, PGA Golf Course, Restaurants, and Spa) offer valuable lifestyle and wellbeing resources to the local community.
Alongside this, the Estate continues to support important community facilities, including providing the land for the Derry Hill Village Hall, Football Ground, and Scouts Hut.
Two thirds of the Estate’s workforce live within five miles of their workplace, reflecting Bowood’s position as a local employer of choice. Not only does this benefit the local economy, but it supports the Estate’s ambition to mitigate its environmental impact as an employer, by limiting commuting distances.