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Featured sites

When reviewing website links, every so often you come across a site that is really interesting or special in some way -the sort of website that adds something unique. Each month we feature one of our favourite travel sites -below is the list of those we have featured:


  • June 2012: Pedibus: a different activity perhaps while the Olympics are on -Pedibus is an innovative idea offering Pubcrawler Parties and tours of Shoreditch and Borough Market with their vehicle that seats eight cyclists who sit facing each other as if at a dinner table and pedal their way around, steered by a driver. The on-board bar and solar powered sound system complete the atmosphere. Would be great to see more of these.

  • May 2012: Hunters Yard: recommended by our good friend Brian, this unique collection of classic boats ticks all the boxes for an environmentally friendly holiday. Spend a day or a week sailing on the unspoilt wetlands of the Norfolk Broads, with miles of navigable rivers and lakes, teeming with wildlife including herons, kingfishers, otters and marsh harriers.

  • April 2012: Páramo -manufacturer of outdoor products, designed at their base in the Lake District. Their ethical policy extends to the production facility in Bogotá, Colombia, which is part of a cooperation program with the Miquelina Foundation to provide employment and skills to 'at risk' women seeking an improvement in their lives.

  • March 2012: Perche dans le Perche -set in a natural garden within 25 acres of unspoilt countryside of La Renardiere in Normandy is this luxury 5-berth treehouse in a centuries old sweet chestnut tree that can be booked for periods up to a week.


  • November 2011: Dodgy Geezer -Eco-Gite, St Jean le Thomas, Basse Normandy -this sympathetic eco-renovation of an old bar/shop by Douglas Beal, goes under the wonderful title of Doug's disarming style belies a more serious message which is enlarged in the page 'reflections on' -this contains the text of a lecture given at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth in 2007 on his experiences and should be essential reading for anyone planning an eco-renovation. The town house property offers accommodation for up to 13 people in 5 bedrooms.

  • October 2011: Your Planet Needs You -the page of Jon Symes -author, speaker, traveller and dreamer who changed his life course and released his book "Your Planet Needs you" in 2006. The book sets out principles to live by and create the world we want. Jon has taken his message over the world -to Beirut, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Korea, Manilla and Ecuador, where Jon has been working with the Pachamama Alliance

  • September 2011: Will Gethin -a beautiful site to inspire you -enjoy the words and images of this beautiful site from the noted holistic explorer and travel writer. Gethin seeks to inspire and inform about extreme and eco travel, global spirituality, holistic health, conscious living and cultural change. He has written on exotic destinations including Lapland, Mongolia, Ladakh and the Sinai for a range of publications including The Independant, Harpers Bazaar, Evening Standard and the Tatler. More recently, Will has been working on a documentary film that explores the vanishing cultural and spiritual traditions of Peru.

  • July 2011:Get Walking -a new venture from the Ramblers, Get Walking is a twelve week programme of led walks in Birmingham, East London, South London, Manchester or Sheffield -get fit and explore your own area at the same time.

    June 2011:Les Maziures, Picardy -this modern longhouse nestled in a "courtil" in the heart of the village of Beaumetz, between the valleys of the Somme and the Authie. It offers three double bedrooms along with a winter garden equipped with a wide range of books and opening onto the sunny garden. Breakfasts with homemade breads, brioches, patisserie and jams, farm products, cereals, fruit juice, coffee and tea are well suited for walkers and cyclists. The owners encourage biodiversity through responsible, ecological and sustainable development, and are members of the association Baie de Somme Zéro Carbone, a group of professionals comitted to the preservation of the Bay. They take part in the campaigns of the Noah Conservation Association and BirdLife International. The lodging has been awarded the Green Key ecolabel.

  • May 2011: Schooner Sail -spectacular sailing holidays on the three masted schooner, Trinovante, where everyone plays a full role in sailing the ship. There is a strong emphasis on developing good seamanship skills and sail training - coastal day trips or challenging offshore voyages.

  • April 2011: Field Studies Council -may not spring to everyone's mind as a source of family holidays, but the FSC run some very interesting family residential holiday courses from their field centres throughout the UK, They offer wildlife and discovery, creative and active courses, in locations ranging from the Scottish highlands to the South Devon coast. Courses are designed for the whole family to take part families can enjoy actually spending time, participating, talking and learning together, as well as offering outdoor exercise and the opportunity to learn about the natual world.

  • March 2011: Living Architecture - a social enterprise dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of world-class modern architecture. The brainchild of Dickon Robinson and Alain de Botton, they feature a number of awesome houses available for short stay holidays, including The Balancing Barn and The Dune House in Suffolk, along with The Shingle House in Kent.

  • February 2011: Greenbox -an Irish company offering a range of ecotourism holidays including venues in Counties Fermanagh, Leitrim, West Cavan, North Sligo, South Donegal and North West Monaghan. They aim to provide travel that is small scale, low impact, culturally sensitive, community orientated, primarily nature based, educational and capable of broadening peoples minds and enlivening their souls but providing a unique experience, firmly grounded in sustainable principles and practices.

  • January 2011: Canopy & Stars ­our pick for the new year is a site by Alistair Sawday that presents a beautiful collection of camping venues with a difference -here you can find everything from quirky treehouses to luxurious yurts. The great thing is that all are selected on the basis of their philosophy towards the natural environment.


  • December 2010: Green Hotels and Responsible Tourism Initiative -if you want to help the owner of your hotel to up their game on environmental issues, then this educational resource from Hotels Combined is designed to help both travelers and hotel owners about making more responsible choices, as well as enhancing the lives of local communities and conserving the natural environment. The site was developed in collaboration with renowned sustainability academic, Dr Sonya Graci, and responsible tourism consultant, Jacqueline Kuehnel.

  • November 2010: Alto Hotel on Bourke, Melbourne
    This boutique hotel in the heart of the city was the recent winner of the Conde Nast Traveler World Savers Award 2010, the highest rated of all entries in the Environmental  Preservation category. The first fully carbon neutral hotel in Australia with a carbon footprint of 13.5 g per room, which is in turn offset with the Carbon Reduction Institute. They offer free recharging for owners of electric cars and free parking for hybrids. Environmental measures include wind powered electricity, reuse of rainwater for flushing toilet cisterns, waste separation along with other measures outlined on their sustainability fact sheet.

  • October 2010: Musée Branly
    The Musée Branly in Paris has a fantastic collection of Ethnographic artifacts from around the world carefully displayed in a stunning building designed by architect Jean Nouvel and featuring beautiful gardens incorporating vertical planted walls by Patrick Blanc.

    August 2010: Trek Ethiopia Challenge -
    Transaid is an international development charity that aims to reduce poverty and improve livelihood across Africa and the developing world through creating better transport.They are looking for people to join their Trek Ethiopia Challenge which takes place from 4-11th February 2011, where volunteers will get the opportunity to trek through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ethiopia and Africa. The challenge will take volunteers on a trek through the World Heritage protected Simien Mountains up to an altitude of over 4000 metres.

  • July 2010: Stuff your Rucksack -
    The website of TV presenter Kate Humble that gives guidance on things you can take with you on your travels that may be of value to charitable projects supporting local communities. Well worth a read before you set off.

  • June 2010: Guludo Beach Lodge, Mozambique -
    A beautiful rustic hideaway and fair trade lodge on the beach paradise of Pemba. The owners established the Nema Foundation, whose philosophy is based around giving back to the local community, with a strong emphasis on supporting women. The lodge offers guests the chance to relax on beautiful white beaches lapped by aquamarine sea, observe humback whales in their natural environment, canoeing or enjoy world class scuba diving. They also take their protection of Pemba's environment very seriously using solar panels, water reharvesting, recycling and local education programs as part of this commitment.

  • May 2010: Gaps for Grumpies -you don't have to be nineteen to make a worthwhile contribution whilst having a life changing experience. This organisation caters for non traditional gappers, placing you in community development projects in Ghana and Tanzania.

  • April 2010: Girls Travel Club -founded by Beccy Coombes Burr, GTC specialises in gear for women travellers. They try to source all their products as ethically and as responsibly as possible. The site also provides tips, unusual packing lists, natural remedies and even games for travellers. There is some seriously good advice on the site (and not just for women), and if you want to know why you should take an onion on holiday, visit the website!
  • March 2010 -Lanzarote Retreats -Family run business offering six different luxury eco accommodations, including self-catering eco yurts, cottages and villas in stunning locations. All six properties are off-grid being powered by the solar panels and wind turbines of "Finca de Arrieta" in the north of the island. The mayority of the properties are located by the sea, away from the hustle and bustle of mass tourism.

  • Feb 2010 -Madventurer -combination of award winning volunteer projects and adventures in some of the most fascinating destinations in the world. They aim to help local communities in developing countries with volunteer projects, and at the same time enable travellers to gain life-changing experiences through cultural integration, challenge and adventure. Destinations include Fiji, Ghana, India, Kenya, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda. Projects combine volunteering, adventure or sports projects -rugby, hockey, football, netball, cricket, basketball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

  • Much Better AdventuresJanuary 2010 -Much Better Adventures -a travel directory that puts you in direct contact with carefully selected adventure sports and activity holidays, tours, courses and accommodation with a strong commitment to sustainability. Their mission in particular is to generate more business for small operators, community tourism, not for profit and charity operations that cannot normally compete on a such a commercial platform.

  • Past featured sites.
    November 2009 -Eco Dharma Centre -offer courses, events and retreats that support the development of an ecological consciousness. Retreats take place in in a beautiful and wild mountain valley in the Sierra de Carreau of the Catalan Pyrenees. A number of old farmhouses in various states of renovation together with some low-impact structures provide shelter within a mountainous landscape of mixed woodland, pasture, scrub, and limestone outcrops.

  • September 2009: WWHOOF -just in time before the end of summer -World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms offers "WHOOFERS" the opportunity to volunteer on organic farms throughout the world in return for food, accommodation and the chance to learn about organic lifetsyles.

  • August 2009: Surf Algarve -a surfing and yoga camp nestled in a valley of native cork trees. The retreat is the brainchild of enthusiastic Australian traveller and surfer Laurie Quirk. Staying here is a communal experience with accommodation in a large teepee, or on a small island camp just across a brook. For those wanting more privacy there is also the more secluded 'Couples Retreat' in an African safari style tent.

    July 2009 -Ethical Volunteering -an online guide to getting the best out of international volunteering, and ensuring that your experience is of value to both yourself and the people you work with.

  • June 2009 -Wild Swimming -Daniel Start's book on swimming in Britains rivers, lakes and waterfalls includes location maps, guidance on staying safe and mouthwatering photo highlights. The is also chance to contribute and win a free copy of the book by nominating places for inclusion.
  • May 2009: Consolacion Hotel, Monroyo. A striking modern hotel located in the Matarraña, Aragón, one of the most beautiful and undiscovered regions of Spain. The hotel was designed by architects Camprubí i Santacana as an innovative project comprising a central house with communal areas, plus ten rooms built as cubes with three solid and one glass wall, enjoying interrupted views of the natural surroundings. The rooms have sunken baths of luxurious black slate and a chimney suspended in mid air, as well as speakers for your I-pod. The restaurant serves some of the best regional produce and the swimming pool, carved from the rockface, enjoys the same spectacular views.
  • April 2009: The Dharma House
    A retreat in the foothills of the Cévennes mountain in the south of France whose aim is to explore a lifestyle centred around ecological and sustainable ethics, placing an emphasis on integrating mindful awareness into daily activities.The centre enjoys fantastic views and is surrounded by olive, almond, peach, plum, mimosa, fig and apricot trees. The community is active in growing food and structuring the land with permacultural ideas and designs. At various times they hold meditation and yoga retreats, as well as courses on topics including permaculture and green building.
  • March 2009: Bulungula Incubator -working with Bulunga Lodge in South Africa, this project uses the benefits of backpacker tourism to fight poverty in one of the poorest villages in South Africa. The village of Nqileni is beautiful but has has no road, school, running water, toilets, school, clinic or electricity. The lodge has helped create thirty five jobs for the village and works in association with the incubator project to assist people in setting up projects ranging from fundraising for the village school to the establishment of a permaculture food forest.
  • February 2009: Where the hell is Matt: in case you are not one of the twelve million people who have already seen this, turn your sound up, sit back and enjoy Matt Harding's video.
  • January 2009: Deepdale Backpackers, Deepdale Farm, Norfolk, England -we have chosen this one because of their leading the way for eco friendly budget accommodation. As well as the Deepdale Granary Hostel, they also run a campsite with tipis ready erected, or bring your own tent or camper van. (perhaps not for the current weather!) . They have won many awards for their sustainability projects. Read more about them and other eco hostels on our hostels pages.


  • December 2008: Trelowarren, Mawgan, Cornwall - the worlds first eco-timeshare -half of the cottages in this 30 house eco-community are avalaible as timeshares. The aim of the community is to be completely carbon neutral as well as self sufficient in food and fuel.
  • November 2008: Sadie Cove Ecolodge -this Alaskan lodge is located on a privately owned beach inside Kachemak Bay State Park and offers guests amazing opportunities to interact with bears, otters and whales, as well as enjoying the peace and tranquility of Alaska's wilderness. The lodge is serious about its environmental policy, with one tree planted for every guest who stays, hydro-eclectric power, recycling and the entire hostel built of driftwood.
  • October 2008: Aqua Dome -an absolutely stunning thermal spa and wellness hotel set in the Tirollean mountains. Features include a domed, glass-walled thermal spring hall with two pools and a huge waterfall -two canal pools connect to the amazing outdoor area, with the whole complex designed to blend with the mountain setting.
  • Sept 2008: Kw'o:kw'e:hala Eco Retreat, Othello, British Columbia -a wilderness retreat in the mountains of the Pacific North-West, just one and a half hours from Vancouver with accommodation in log cabins or 'soft-sided nests'. Breathtaking scenery on seven forested acres alongside crystal emerald waters of the Coquihalla River. Meals provided from their own organic garden.
  • August 2008: Kolarbyn -Sweden's most primitive hostel -stay in a forest hut and really get back to nature with moose safaris, wolf howling tours
  • July 08: Galapita Healing Garden -healing centre and sanctuary described by TS Elliot as "one of those rare and magical places that seems to exist outside time as though the world only revolves around its boundaries". Stay in open walled pavilions nestled among protected pockets of forests, paddy fields, waterfalls and a lake along the meandering river of gems.
  • June 2008: Canvas Chic -holiday in a tent as you have never imagined it. Stay a luxury handcrafted Yurt in a magnificent oak forest on top of a stunning river gorge at Labastide de Virac in the Ardèche. Canvaschic was founded in 2003 by Lodewijk van den Belt and Ruth Lawson who wanted to offer a holiday that reflected their love of the outdoors.
  • May 08: Natural Retreats -their vision is to build environmentally friendly, luxury residences, founded on sustainable principles, within, or close to, all the National Parks in the UK. Their first site at Richmond in the Yorkshire Dales is now open offering luxury modern eco cabins in beautiful countryside.
  • April 08: Plan-it Earth -family eco activity and yurt holidays at Govena, an idyllic smallholding run by Rachel and Daid Smart Knight in West Penwith, Cornwall....and additional discount if you leave the car at home.
  • March 08: -Doug Dyment's site on the art of travelling light is jammed with ways to keep your load to a minimum, with packing lists and advice on what to take with you (and what not!).
  • February 08: Earthdive -a global research project for recreational scuba divers to log sightings of key indicator species working inassociation with the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • January 08: Palin's Travels -writing and photos from the broadcaster Michael Palin -including Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway and Sahara.

Previous sites -our selection of some of the best

  • Visit England North West -the official tourist site for the North West of England, including Blackpool, Cumbria and the Lake District.
  • Organic Places to stay -an extensive guide to small hotels, farms, bed and breakfasts throughout the world who use organic produce.
  • Black Sheep Inn -an inexpensive ecologically friendly hotel perched on a hillside in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador -having won a number of awards for responsible tourism, it is a perfect place to discover diverse ecosystems.
  • Fat Birder -huge resource about birdwatching worldwide with trip reports, country data, bird information and much more.
  • Flight Path to Global Meltdown -George Monbiot's challenging discussion of the effects of air travel on the environment.
  • Been There -from the Guardian, chance to publish your favourite tips on the places you have been to.
  • Sustrans -the UK's leading sustainable transport charity, working on practical projects such as the National Cycle Network, so people can choose to travel sustainably.
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office -the huge FCO site has advice on travelling to any country -health, security, checklists, visas and how to get help if you have a problem.
  • Jet Lag Travel -if you think you've been everywhere then try this site -special features on travel to Molvania and Phaic Tan. Perhaps we should have waited until April to feature this one.
  • One Bag -the art and science of travelling light.
  • Villarenters -free online service for villa and holiday home owners, providing a professionally run website and booking system in return for a small commission on bookings.
  • WebExpeditions: leading source for scientific, educational and adventure expedition news and information -everything from polar exploration to deep jungle research, including links to hundreds of current, recent and historical expeditions, organized by topic and date.
  • Climate Care Emissions Calculator -how much C02 do you generate with your air travel -well this site has a calculator to answer just that. You can also make a donation to the charity to offset your emissions.
  • Spirit of the Hills -a family run business that specialise in walking experiences in Scotland -the website has some beautiful photographs that really capture the feel of the Scottish Highlands.
  • The Man in Seat Sixty One -a must for all rail travellers.

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Featured books:

Wild Swimming: 150 Hidden Dips in the Rivers, Lakes and Waterfalls of Britain
Daniel Start
April 2008
Price in UK pounds
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The Wild Places
Robert Macfarlane Paperback
Jul 2008
Price in UK pounds
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Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die
Steve Davey
Paperback -March 2004
Price in UK pounds

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