Delighted to hear one of our members, Wheatland Farm, won silver for sustainable tourism in the 2010 Devon Tourism Awards. Congratulations Ian and Maggie – well deserved. Here is what they had to say:Wheatland Farm, near Winkleigh, has won a silver award for sustainable tourism in this years Devon Tourism Awards (30 September).Wheatland Farms owners, Ian Ripper and Maggie Watson, impressed the judges with their commitment to both carbon-cutting and education. Maggie said, Weve been monitoring our energy use, and the insulation, solar panels and other power saving devices mean the lodges use 75% less energy per occupied night than the average UK home. Wheatland Farm also has a comfortnot luxurypolicy to cut consumption and, by encouraging guests to recycle, keeps an impressive 79% of its waste out of landfill.But for Maggie and Ian its their wildlife thats most important. Maggie explains: The lodges and cottage make it financially viable to run Wheatland Farm for wildlifeincluding our barn owls, orchids and dormice. Our guests love the freedom and space, and they know its their stay that makes our conservation work possible. We offer everyone a guided walk around Popehouse Moor, our Site of Special Scientific Interest nature reserve, as a thank you and people leave knowing theyve helped look after the Devon countryside they came to enjoy.Commenting on the award, Ian said Were delighted. It recognises four years of hard work and our belief that sustainable tourism should be mainstream, not luxury. He added, Were not big, so I suppose in that sense were exclusive, but people come here from all incomes and all walks of life. Weve had someone pay with a cheque from Coutts & Co. and others whove asked for extra time to pay cash on arrival. Sustainable shouldnt be beyond most peoples pockets.Regional sustainability expert, Rob Buckley, of the Sustainable Building Resource Centre in Dorset, agrees, saying: Wheatland farm completely disproves the ideas that quality needs excessive consumption, or that sustainable means hair shirts and cold showers. You get the comfort weve all come to expect and stunning surroundings. If theres a luxury its knowing your holiday has a minimal impact on the environment. Wheatland Farms lifestyle package minimises consumption without just ‘bolting on’ technology for the sake of it. Its a glimpse of the future we all hope to see, and invaluable education in winning over hearts and minds to real change in the way we live.And Maggie and Ian want to spread the word further. Ian says Come and staywere open all year for holidays or short breaks. But we also welcome visits from all sorts of groups, and particularly other tourism providers who want to talk about going greener.Its not about splashing the cash, its about a different approach that values quality over consumption and celebrates wildlife and our environment. And so many Devon tourism providers have something to celebrate and shareour fabulous countryside is why people come to Devon. Lets help our visitors keep it that way!