This morning there were 66 emails in my inbox offering Black Friday deals. No-one is arguing that a special offer makes the inevitable Christmas spend a little more manegable, but that isn’t what Black Friday is about. It’s about tempting you to spend more on extra stuff.
Stuff you don’t need and stuff you think you want. As a small rural business we aren’t offering any special deals for Christmas. I’m sure some of our regular guests and some potential guests would be grateful if we were offering a massive discount and some may question whether a business that isn’t trying to maximise its Christmas sales really knows what it is doing at all! But here’s why we aren’t…
While there’s no doubt that we exist as a business to earn a living, that’s just one small part of our reason for being. If you’ve visited us before you’ll know that Swallowtail Hill is a forty acre, climate positive site that has been managed purely for conservation for the past 30 years. The work we do on the farm is about preserving our disappearing landscape. It’s about doing our bit for biodiversity in this corner of East Sussex. Plenty of guests arrive and don’t know what that means – what is biodiversity? Why is it important? Well, the answer is simple – urbanisation and industrial farming has meant that much of our natural landscape has disappeared and this loss has serious negative impacts for life on earth – we’re losing species at a rapid rate. So our work is to ensure that the range of habitats we have on the farm is rich and varied in order that as much life can flourish as possible, from our coppice woodland, our hedgerows, ponds and wet meadow to our grassland and our wildflower meadows. Diverse and undisturbed landscapes like ours have another important funtion which is to absorb large amounts of carbon.
We take our role as custodians of the land very seriously. Conservation doesn’t pay the bills so the special places to stay on our farm are the way that we can afford for our conservation work to continue and for the farm to thrive as the unique landscape that it is. This landscape deserves to thrive for the future, for its own sake, for the life it supports, for the eco-systems services that it provides, but also for those who spend time here. One of the most important things we’ve discovered since we began offerig holidays here is that as fast as our natural landscapes are disappearing, so is our connection with nature and the outdoors. And so we’re passionate about offering a place to stay that allows people to discover that again. It’s in removing themselves from the busy-ness and noise of everyday life and finding peace in the countryside that guests have space to reconnect with themselves, each other and the landscape around them. We see the remarkable effect that a short break has on everyone who visits. Children who arrive horrified to discover that there’s no TV, leave having rediscovered the fun of building dens outside. Couples who arrive glued to their phones remember how to talk to each other.
We are proud of what we offer and we value it accordingly. Our business enables us to employ seven local people, we work with wonderful local businesses who support every aspect of what we do from the myriad local food producers who supply us, to the tradespeople who keep everything on the farm in working order, to our vets who keep our animals healthy, to the small creative industries who work with us to tell our story and to all restaurants and cafes and local attractions we recommend to our guests as part of their stay. In short – your holiday here isn’t a throwaway experience. Not only will you have supported this little part of the landscape by holidaying in an eco-conscious way, you will have supported a network of local businesses who compete with big brands to survive. So a ‘Black Friday MASSIVE DISCOUNT’ might have bought you a cheaper holiday but wouldn’t have enabled any of the above to have happened. What we offer is quite simply worth it. It’s moment in time that we hope you and your loved ones will enjoy and really experience being here in ‘real time’ and not through the lens of a phone and then take the memories away with you forever.
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