Castle Head is surrounded by the stunning Lake District National Park and is on the edge of Morecambe Bay, which is a designated SPA, SAC and RAMSAR site. Here at Castle Head, we want to help minimise our impact on the environment by being as sustainable as possible. We have set up an Environmental Committee, including staff from each department of the centre. We regularly meet to discuss our sustainable practices and our committment to the environment.
We have achieved the Gold Award from Cumbria Business Environment Network (CBEN) for achieving excellence in environmental practice.
Our kitchen continues to use local suppliers wherever possible to help reduce our food miles:
- McClure's - a family run wholesaler based in Windermere, who are also committed to the environment and sustainable practices
- J. Procter - our local butcher supplies us with our meat and they are just down the road in Grange-over-Sands!
- Hargan's - another local grocer, found in Flookburgh
To reduce the amount of rubbish we send to landfill and promote a non-wasteful culture, we encourage our students to recycle as much as possible. We also have signs around the centre displaying ideas of small changes that people can make to reduce the amount of plastic they use.
In the kitchen we now use a pergal to dispense our milk, which has significantly reduced the amount of plastic we use. In our tuckshop, the majority of our products are made from recycled materials. There are also examples of recycling old materials all around our centre to keep an eye out for!
We currently have five active compost bins which we use to deal with some of our garden and food waste. The compost which is produced is then used on our flowerbeds and in our vegetable garden. We will also be using the compost as we revamp our wildlife garden.
The grounds around Castle Head are used regularly by our visiting groups for learning and recreation. There is a wide variety of different habitats for wildlife: the River Winster, wet meadows, several types of woodland, a pond, hedgerows and willow patches. Castle Head is home to over 50 species of birds, 13 different earthworms, bats, deer and badgers.
As part of our biodiversity management we monitor the wildlife we have on site. This invovles recording sightings with our camera trap, some of the clips can be seen on the TV next to reception. Our HE Placement students will aslo be carrying out BeeWalk surveys, beginning in March, for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT). This will also be carried out at other FSC centres to add to the BCT database, from all around the UK.
Our wildlife garden helps to increase our biodiversity as it contains lots of microhabitats and is being used by groups for conservation activities. Some of these include making homes for wildlife, planting flowers for bats and pollinators, thinning trees and planting hedgerows. All of which are are helping to revamp the garden and make it accessible to all of our visitors to educate them on Cumbrian wildlife.
Environmental News Board
We have an environmental news board to promote current environmental topics to our visitors. The board includes monthly sightings of wildlife around the centre, which visitors are encourgaed to note down in our Biodiverity Book. It is also updated with current environmental news in Cumbria, the UK and around the world.