Last week Craig spotted a pair of otters on the pond just next to the cottages. Not only are we very excited by this sighting, we are also encouraged by this evidence that all our ecological and conservation work is paying off. Otters need clean water and an abundance of prey and because of this they are often considered to be important ecological indicators.

According to the River Otter Ecology Project: ‘Because they are top predators [at the pinnacle their food chain], and utilize both water, and land environments, otters are ideal environmental indicators – canaries in the mine, so-to-speak. Any contaminants that enter their food web become more concentrated with each step, resulting in the highest concentration at the top. They are among the first species to disappear from a polluted watershed. This applies to every species of otter, in every nation.”

At Press Mains we have been working hard to promote good practice in all things green. From planting trees and hedges to investing in renewable energy, we are passionate about looking after the environment. We follow good farming practice in all that we do, limiting the use of fertilisers and pesticides to the minimum. Since arriving at the farm in 2016 we have actively managed woodlands and hedgerows, planted grass margins and set aside some wild spaces for wildlife.

The green theme also extends to our cottages. All are double glazed and insulated to a high standard and there are recycling facilities on site. We use a district heating biomass system based on sustainable locally grown timber. Wood-burning stoves are supplied (free of charge) with home-produced logs. We also generate enough electricity through our wind turbine to power 30 – 40 houses which is exported to the national grid. Plans are in place to erect a second small wind turbine to generate electricity for the biomass boiler which operates 24/7.

So, when it comes to the environment, we are working hard to make sure our own valley is as green as it can be.