Sustainable pioneers
Berkshire Life|April 2020
We meet some of the leading environmentally friendly businesses in the county who all have the same vision when it comes to caring about climate change and positive adjustments
Holly Louise Eells

Campaigners and environmentalists Peter Kindersley and his wife, Juliet, began their dream of self-sufficiency over 40 years ago when they founded Sheepdrove. They bought a dilapidated farmhouse on top of the windswept Berkshire Downs in Lambourn. “It was originally built around about the Zulu war period in the 19th century. Many people referred to it as Zulu because of its isolation,” explains Peter.

Sheepdrove Organic Farm is a model of environmentally responsible farming driven by a passion and concern for animal welfare, biodiversity and wildlife conservation. The couple’s original aim was to protect themselves from the polluting chemicals used by farmers all around them and recreate the original downland landscape.

Over the years, they purchased additional land and have grown Sheepdrove to its current 2,500 acreage. “It is not only a home but a way of life where we can show how the world would be a much better place if we farmed with the environment in mind,” says Peter.

Before running a phenomenal eco-friendly business, Peter was a publisher until 2000 and had offices all over the world, including London, New York, Delhi and Stuttgart. “I worked with several environmentalists on books that showed me the problems we were creating for the future. But this was something I had been aware of for a long time... insect Armageddon, the dying of the bees, the oceans awash with plastic and many species disappearing due to huge over-fishing, intensive industrial farming and chemicals,” he says.

It seems there is no place like Sheepdrove; a building which defines an environmentally sympathetic approach with ground-breaking architecture. It offers bespoke weddings, conferences, a physic garden, events and green burials within its natural burial wood.

Sheepdrove also provides accommodation on site in the lovely nine-bed converted farm building and beautiful, secluded boathouse.

“We have had such a positive response and many organisations and groups now visit us. They take away that feeling of naturalness and sustainability. By experiencing it people can see what we are trying to achieve here at Sheepdrove,” says Peter.

“Sustaining this beautiful countryside for our children and future generations is both a critical need and a responsibility”

This innovative eco business has brought so much positivity back to its countryside surroundings, including the return of a myriad of birds, wild flowers, small mammals, reptiles and insect life. Land, which was turning into an arid prairie, has been transformed into a rich tapestry of wildlife.

“My goal is to always improve the environment,” says Peter. “Sustaining this beautiful countryside for our children and future generations is both a critical need and a responsibility – how can we leave this world in a worse state than we found it?” sheepdrove.com

Single-use plastic bottles have finally gone from being a convenience to a curse. Taking your own reusable cup to the coffee shop is now applauded and refillable water bottles are a must-have accessory.

But single-use plastic bottles aren’t just limited to those carrying water. Have you ever counted up the amount of plastic bottles you get through in the bathroom? Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner... Then add in the kitchen products too; washing liquid, detergent, hand soap, surface sprays...

Whilst recycling is a must when it comes to the empties, refilling them is a much better option as it takes the plastic from single-use to multi-use. One Berkshire woman is spear-heading a refill-ution and making it easier for local people to make the switch to green when it comes to keeping clean.

Maya’s Refillables, founded by Maya Gheorghe, encourages us to swap our regular cleaning and beauty products to a more eco-friendly option and cut down on our use of plastic.

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