Amanada Parker, current lady of Browsholme Hall and Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire might live in a 16th Century historic house but her passion for sustainability means she aims to ensure a future for this exceptional family home for future generations.
Q. An historic house, lived in by the BowBearer of the Forest of Bowland and in continuous family occupation for over 500 years. That’s a great story in itself. Why do you need to pursue sustainable practises?
A. Many in the heritage sector don’t believe that a Grade 1 listed building can support a sustainable business; we have proved it can be done. As a result culturally, economically and environmentally, Browsholme has never been in a stronger place. Looking at every aspect of our family life and the visitor enterprise we undertake sympathetic renovation projects, finding new uses for historic buildings. We have found that we can improve facilities to help to increase visitor numbers that enhance their experience and minimise environmental impact. We have overcome planning, structural and recruitment hurdles by being flexible and innovative in our approach. Energy use has been reduced with a conversion to renewable and efficient sources. Rare wildlife is encouraged with sightings this year of kingfisher and otter, while also securing a habitat for our hedgehog population. Waste and thereby landfill are reduced and visitor numbers are growing.
Q. What do visitors to the hall and gardens think about what you’ve done?
A. We want our visitors to feel welcome in our home and understand what we are doing. Whilst most people will not necessarily be interested in the effi ciency of our biomass boiler or our waste management plans they will be interested to hear about how we encourage wildlife or that all the food & drink is from local businesses and producers. The Hall and Tithe Barn are surrounded by 20 acres of lakes and gardens, and 120 acres of managed woodland including a 20 acre Biological Heritage Site. In 2015 visitors observed, in the parkland alone, fifty bird species, seventy-seven of moths (fourteen on national moth night) and eighteen hedgehogs were spotted on one night in September. The help of our visitors is essential to record these sightings. Visitors are off ered leafl ets describing the walks, flora and fauna they may see, with checkboxes so they can tell us whatthey have seen.
Q. Now that you have been winner of the Lancashire Sustainable Tourism Award two years running, what new developments can visitors expect to see in 2017?
A. Over the last ten years our efforts have been concentrated on the sustainability of the Hall and Tithe Barn. Now we would like to focus on the garden, parkland and water features by determining a conservation and landscape plan that will include new planting, an arboretum and paths and walks for all our visitors to enjoy. We are widening our welcome to encourage visitors with particular needs, for example partially sighted and hard of hearing. With help from our guides we’ve designed sensory and signed guided tours and walks, inside the Hall and out in the gardens.
This interview featured in the 2017 Lancashire Visitor Magazine. Read the magazine below or order a copy here