Little White Alice
Jarvis Smith visits one of the UK's greenest holiday cottage destinations
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Published: 31 March 2015
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
Being a judge on the PEA Awards panel is such a treat because we all get to see what’s happening at a grassroots level in the world of sustainability.
Rosie Hadden runs Little White Alice eco-resort in Cornwall, and was runner-up for 2014’s Travel and Tourism PEA Award. The resort also won Visit England’s Gold Sustainable Tourism Award last year; in response, Rosie said, ‘We are challenging the standards of most listed green holidays’.
That’s not something you hear every day in the travel industry, so I was keen to check this place out. I love Cornwall and it just so happened that I’d been loaned a Tesla S P85+ over the Valentine’s weekend; I asked my beloved to pack a bag and off we went for a test drive.
The Tesla manages at least 250 miles on a full charge and takes just 30 minutes to recharge using Tesla’s own rapid chargers. Luckily there was one at Exeter, so the whole 307-mile drive from the south coast of Sussex to the beautifully rugged shores of Cornwall was going to be a one-stop operation.
On the road
The beauty of driving a Tesla driving is that it’s a fully electric vehicle, just like my own Nissan LEAF – but with nearly triple the range. If I wanted to hit illegal speeds of 155mph I could – and I’d beat just about any car off the lights. But why would I want to use up the battery just to prove a point? Well, because it would be satisfying – but so is the knowledge that I could have beaten that Porsche if I’d wanted to.
Having left Brighton at 5pm, we arrived at Carnmenellis, near Redruth, at close to midnight. It was very dark but the stars were out and the instructions Rosie had sent via email were spot on. We cruised into Little White Alice’s car park, stuck the car on charge in one of the two on-site charging stations and ran into the cottage.
Our home for the week was Ash House, Cornish name Nion, which was originally the barn for the livestock. It’s been completely rebuilt but all the cottage’s original features remain; the exposed walls and wood burning stove combine beautifully with the modern kitchen and clean design of the open-plan downstairs living area. Upstairs we had a choice between two double bedrooms; it was too dark to pick the room with the best view so we chanced it and fell asleep wrapped in that beautiful silence that’s so hard to find.
We slept like a dream and were greeted by sweeping hills, blue skies and open landscape when we woke up. Rosie had left us fresh eggs from her own chickens, plus bread, butter and – my personal favourite – homemade flapjacks.
Little White Alice has six cottages that range in size; the smallest would be a perfect option for a romantic retreat while the largest, which sleeps up to 12 guests, would be great for a large family break. Two shepherds’ huts have recently been added that combine the luxury of a king-size bed, sofa, wood burning stove, shower room and kitchen with modern fittings including a TV, DVD player and wi-fi.
Short breaks are available out of season and, as you might expect from this smallholding, over 60% of the accommodation is dog-friendly. There are 29 acres of land to explore, complete with sheep, alpacas, pigs, chickens and ponies.
Switch off or crack on
All Little White Alice’s water is supplied by a spring, and power is provided by an on-site wind turbine and an 18kW solar farm. With a wild pool and wood-fired hot tub just steps away from our cottage, I really didn’t want to leave; it’s such an idyllic place in a very, very special area.
Beautifully simple interiors are finished with handcrafted pieces by local artists, yet the cottages still have wi-fi and all the mod cons you might need to keep in touch with the world. If you’re looking for a place that would provide the inspiration to write that book you always knew was in you, then Little White Alice would be the ideal place to crack on undisturbed. But if, like me, you’d just like to switch off somewhere beautiful, then book your break and look forward to a starlit soak in the hot tub as the wind whistles through the gardens.