Huw Rees and Sam Prosser, owners of the Old Rectory Hotel in Martinhoe, were delighted to hand over a cheque for £1.4k to Julian Gurney, Head Ranger for the National Trust West Exmoor, recently. The money has been donated to the National Trust via a visitor payback scheme run by the hotel last year, to encourage their guests to help fund some of the costs of maintaining and preserving the National Trust land nearest the property.
The Old Rectory Hotel is situated within Exmoor National Park, just 500 yards from the North Devon coast and is surrounded by National Trust land. In this area the Trust looks after 4,000 acres, including 3,000 acres which are Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 14 miles of coastline and 1000 acres of woodland.
“We are delighted to support the work carried out by the National Trust locally,” commented Huw. “A voluntary donation of £3 was added to our guests’ bills at the end of their stay with clear instructions that they could opt out, or pay more, very easily. We didn’t want our guests to feel uncomfortable about this. But in fact hardly anyone did opt out, which is why we are able to hand over such a significant amount.”
Julian added “I would like to thank the owners and guests of the Old Rectory Hotel at Martinhoe. I am really pleased that the importance of the work we do, both for nature conservation and in support of local tourism, is recognised in this way. This money will be used to further improve the footpath network around Woody Bay and the Heddon Valley for everybody to enjoy.”
To give visitors an idea of what their money will be spent on: it costs the National Trust £700 to rebuild 10 meters of traditional walling, £5,200 to cover the cost of picking up litter along roads and footpaths for 1 year and £30,000 will replace one footbridge crossing a river.
“The National Trust made it very easy for us to help,” enthuses Sam. “It’s a win-win situation. Our partnership helps the local National Trust, it shows our guests that we really care about the local environment, and it’s an easy and efficient way for our visitors to support a good cause. We will definitely carry on with this scheme in the future.”