Beechenhill Farm Honoured in Switzerland

Businesses from around the world honoured at Sustainability Innovation Award Ceremony in Switzerland.

Beechenhill Farm award Switzerland

Left to right:
For Lancaster London Hotel (UK) Duncan Cameron (Operations manager) Louise Pitcher (Marketing Manager) Case writer: Gulen Hashmi. For Interloop Ltd (Pakistan) Carl E Hagen. For Beechenhill Farm (UK) Sue Prince (CEO) Terry Prince (Orgqnic Land manager). For Alternative Bank Schweiz (Swiss) Christian Arnsperger (Adviser) Martin Rohner (CEO). Case writer: Fred Narbel.

Lausanne, Switzerland, 24 September 2015 – seven companies from around the world will be honoured in recognition of their progress in embedding sustainability at the annual Business for Society Forum of Business School Lausanne taking place on September 26, 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Sustainability Innovation Award will be received by Alternative Bank Schweiz, The Lancaster London Hotel, Pebbles PVT Ltd., Beechenhill Farm Hotel, Interloop Limited, Dynamic Sportswear Ltd., and ICI Pakistan Ltd.

The award ceremony will include a special forum discussion on key challenges for mainstream businesses to become sustainable with the participation of panelists Martin Rohner, CEO of Alternative Bank Schweiz, Sue Prince OBE DL, CEO of Beechenhill Farm Hotel, and Louise Pitcher representing the Lancaster London Hotel.

The award-winning companies have been selected based on the Business Sustainability Typology (BST) model which classifies companies to different types based on their efforts to move from „business-as-usual“ to „true business sustainability“. The typology was developed by Dr. Thomas Dyllick, University of St. Gallen, and Dr. Katrin Muff, Business School Lausanne, and aims to provide a framework for organizations to engage in the transformation of business by applying best practices in sustainability.

Three of the seven award recipients fall under the BST 3.0 category of „truly sustainable” organizations – Alternative Bank Schweiz, Lancaster London Hotel, and Pebbles PVT Ltd., while another two companies are classified as BST 2.0 “triple bottom line management” – Beechenhill Farm Hotel and Interloop Limited.  Dynamic Sportswear Ltd. and ICI Pakistan Ltd. will receive the BST 1.0 “refined shareholder management” award.

The Sustainability Innovation Award winners are promoted as examples of best practices for sustainability, ranging from granting bank loans that generate societal or environmental value (Alternative Bank Schweiz, Switzerland) to establishing cross-sectorial collaborations in the area of educational hospitality (Lancaster London Hotel, UK), to using bio-degradable material for product packaging (ICI Pakistan Ltd., Pakistan), to addressing a broader societal challenge of illiteracy in developing countries by providing quality education to the underprivileged children (Interloop Ltd., Pakistan).

Each of the selected companies and their best practices towards sustainably-run businesses has been featured in a dedicated case study by Business School Lausanne’s doctoral candidates Frederic Narbel, Gülen Hashmi, Nazish Bukhari, and Shamaila Gull. The case studies will be published in a special issue of BSL’s sustainable journal for practitioners, Building Sustainable Legacies.

For further information, please contact: 

Sue Prince, Beechenhill Farm, +44 (0) 1335 310467 +44 7821 106006

Denitsa Marinova, Marketing Coordinator, Business School Lausanne, +41 21 619 06 06,

About Beechenhill Farm Sue and Terry Prince, their daughter Alexandra and son-in-law Robert Gray run Beechenhill Farm.  They have 3 part time employees. As an organic farm, they are passionate about food, quality and customer service.  They offer accommodation (including for wheelchair users), eco weddings and courses and conferences in the beautiful Peak District National Park in the heart of England.  The business strives to be sustainable; reducing its environmental impact, supporting its local community, contributing to the global community and enabling others to experience and appreciate a sustainable living.  Their mission is ‘to please you, so that you return, in a way that pleases the planet and pleases us too.’

Beechenhill is a holder of a Peak District Environmental Quality Award, Trip Adviser Green Leader Platinum Award and has a Gold Green Business Award. In 2009 and 2012 we were finalists in the Global Virgin Responsible Tourism Awards.  In 2012 Beechenhill Farm won the Environmental Business Award in the Sentinel Business Awards.  In 2013 we won the Gold award for sustainable tourism in the Visit England Awards for Excellence and became UK Green Hotelier 2013.

About Business School Lausanne

Business School Lausanne (BSL) is a leading innovator in business education and ranks #3 in Switzerland and among the Top 30 business schools in Europe (QS 2014-15 Top 200 Global Business Schools). The school’s ACBSP accredited degree programs include BBA, Masters, full-time modular MBA, Executive MBA and DBA programs. BSL also provides Executive Training in General Management, Corporate Finance (with preparation for the CFA Level I examination), and Sustainable Business (in collaboration with the University of St Gallen). BSL takes a pragmatic approach to learning by applying theory to practice and is backed by a multidisciplinary faculty of business professionals. BSL attracts students from around the world, creating a multicultural environment of more than 60 nationalities. Established in 1987, BSL is the co-founder of the 50+20 initiative on Management Education for the World ( in partnership with the Global Responsible Leadership Initiative ( and the Principles of Responsible Management Education (U.N. backed PRME).

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10 Top Tips for the Best Father of the Bride Speech

Here at the Haybarn at Beechenhill Farm we have heard many many speeches.

Wedding at Beechenhill Farm, Peak District National Park

Ethical Wedding at Beechenhill Farm, Peak District National Park, in the heart of rural England

Because we are working and making sure the weddings here go like clockwork, we always listen attentively to the speeches. Whether it’s a nervous first time public speaker or a consummate showman, the father of the bride’s speech has a massive impact on the feel of the day.   It’s once in a lifetime that a doting Dad has the opportunity to speak from the heart about his girl.  We can share the success factors we have witnessed.  Here are ten top tips for the BEST Father of the Bride speech:

1. Most importantly be kind.  Leave the laddish stuff to the best man, your daughter will remember her father’s words for the rest of her life so make sure she remembers your love, kindness and support.

2. Welcome your new son-in-law.  Be kind and welcoming to your new son-in-law and his family; this moment can set the tone for the rest of your lives.

3. Plan it.  Use postcards to write bullet points or all the words, use a treasury tag or loop of string to hold them together in the right order.  These will neatly fit into your suit pocket.

Steve Martin in 'Father of the Bride' didn't always get it right....

Steve Martin in ‘Father of the Bride’ didn’t always get it right….

4. Keep it short.  Everyone will appreciate it.  A ten minute speech seems about perfect!

5. Keep it up-lifting, true, honest and from the heart.  There are very few times in our lives when we can talk about what really matters, this is one.

6. Mull over ideas.  Jot down notes, words and ideas in the weeks before the wedding when something occurs to you.  Try not to leave it to the morning of the wedding!

Don't leave anyone out of the welcomes and thank yous!

Don’t leave anyone out of the welcomes and thank yous!

7. Welcomes and thank yous.  Speeches often mention family members, Mum, Gran, sisters, brothers dogs, cats and hamsters etc. Double check that you haven’t missed out anyone important.  Get your partner to look over the speech – just in case…

8. Always consider using a microphone.  Trust the venue hosts, they will advise you what is best.  If there are children in your party they will inevitably make noises (they want to join in!).  Their parents feel embarrassed and often take their children out for the duration of the speeches.  Using a mic means that everyone can hear clearly and parents usually stay.  If you are going to use a mic have a practice first.

Use a microphone if advised by your venue hosts.

Use a microphone if advised by your venue hosts.

9. How much to drink?  Try not to have much to drink before you speak.  You will want to have your wits about you and remember the wonderful reaction to your words!

10. Take your time, don’t rush, enjoy every minute of your beautiful girl’s special day, speak up and don’t worry if you shed a tear or two- most Dads do!

At Beechenhill Farm, our organic farm on the Staffordshire, Derbyshire border, we believe in real eco-weddings for real people.  We give you the space and the place to enjoy your perfect day (even if it rains!).  Local foods, local musicians, a beautiful environment in a stunning National Park landscape, all make for a weekend that will last for your lives together.  xxxx

Posted in accessibility, Derby, Derbyshire, eco, eco tourism, environmental, farming, food, Manchester, milk and dairy, nature, organics, Peak District, Sheffield, Staffordshire, Uncategorized, Walking, wedding speech, weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ancestral Tourism or Discover Your Roots

We are delighted to be hosting an event in the Beechenhill Haybarn on 7th November 2013- all about Ancestral Tourism.

Staffordshire Records family history research

Find your way to hidden histories

Ancestral Tourism Course

Malcolm Gallagher (Chartered marketer, business mentor, sales & marketing coach in the tourism & hospitality, food & drink sectors)  Director of BizVision Ltd, CEO of The Executive Scorecard Company, and Joanna Terry,  the inspirational and entrepreneurial head of archives at Staffordshire County Council are running a full day course for Staffordshire businesses here in the Staffordshire Peak District.

He and Joanna have designed an easy way for visitors to Staffordshire to access their hidden family histories and the course at Beechenhill will enable local businesses to help their guests find their way.

Stay at Beechenhill Farm

Here at Beechenhill we take history really seriously! Have a look at our ‘timeline‘ and you will see.  We have organised our website to help our guests as much as possible have a look at our Ancestral Research page- Discover Your Roots 

Staffordshire, Derbyshire and the Peak District are great places to look into your personal heritage and family history.  The beautiful Peak District National Park is so close to many cities; Manchester, Sheffield, Derby, Stoke-on-Trent, that you can stay in the lovely countryside while researching your roots in the city.

We have lots of families to stay who are researching their family histories, and it’s very exciting to hear how they get on each day, it’s like our own ‘Who do you think you are’ programme!  We’ve had visitors from USA, New Zealand and Australia whose families originated here in the Staffordshire Peak District.  The family of a wheelwright emigrated to Australia from Beechenhill Farm in the mid 1800s.  His Australian descendants, after much research, came to stay here in the late 1900s!

We have a wonderful small Costume Museum just up the road Visits are by appointment, but you may discover what your ancestors wore!

Run your Course at Beechenhill Farm

Courses and small conferences at Beechenhill Farm Eco Venue The Haybarn

Host your course at Beechenhill Farm

We host small eco events on our organic farm and would be delighted to welcome you and your event into the Haybarn at Beechenhill Farm.

Posted in Ancestral research, Business, culture, Derby, Derbyshire, eco, eco tourism, environmental, family history, farm visits, Manchester, Peak District, rural community, Sheffield, Staffordshire, travel, Uncategorized, young people | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wrongs and Rights of Way or How to Walk

Highway Bandits or How to Walk

We really don’t want your blood all over our country lanes, we want you to enjoy our great places and not get hurt- Please walk safely.  Particularly when you come and visit the wonderful Peak District National Park and maybe stay at our lovely Beechenhill Farm.


  • Walk on the right-hand side of the road (in UK), facing on-coming cars.
  • Always make sure you are visible to drivers.
  • On right-hand bends carefully cross to the other side to make sure you can be seen.
Walk facing the traffic illustration by Sue Prince Artist

Do it like this and stay safe…

The Highway Code says:

“If there is no pavement keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic. You should take extra care and be prepared to walk in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light. Also, keep close to the side of the road.
It may be safer to cross the road well before a sharp right-hand bend so that oncoming traffic has a better chance of seeing you. Cross back after the bend.”

Walking into danger on country roads

Do it this way and get squashed….

Other things to keep you safe:

  • LISTEN for traffic coming behind you.
  • LOOK behind you when a car passes- there maybe another car following
  • ADULTS- Train your dog and your Children to stay between you and the side of the road
  • RUBBISH, Please don’t throw your rubbish in the lanes, animals may choke.

Where ever you are in the world WALK FACING THE TRAFFIC!



Thank you!

Posted in accessibility, adventure, Derbyshire, environmental, farm visits, Peak District, rural community, Sheffield, Uncategorized, Walking, young people | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#2 How Green is Your Wedding? 2014 -A Competition for £250 off

Ethical Weddings in the Peak District

Wedding at Beechenhill Farm, Peak District National Park

Ethical Wedding at Beechenhill Farm, Peak District National Park, in the heart of rural England

We offer exclusive hire of Beechenhill Farm for your wedding weekend. We are lucky enough to live in this beautiful organic farm in the Staffordshire Peak District National Park, we would like to share it with you on your special day. A wedding at Beechenhill is not a ‘hotel experience’; it is more like getting married in the country home of friends who care about you and the planet.

Perfect Match

We would LOVE to host your wedding here at Beechenhill!  Because we are only offering four wedding dates for hire in 2014, we need to make sure we can match your aspirations and that we are the best place for you!

To Enter the Competition

Once you have been to see us and booked your date, you can enter the competition.  We will judge the weddings and in October 2014 we will award one of our couples their £250 prize.

(There is some media interest in this idea- please let us know if you would rather not be contacted.)

Show us how green your special celebration is. We would like to know what you will do about the following:

  • Food
  • Drink
  • Flowers
  • Transport
  • Local and global community
  • Do you have any suggestions about how our venue could be greener?

Collect the evidence and show us just how green your wedding is and you may get £250 back.

One Winner!

Convince us that yours is the greenest 2014 wedding and you will get £250 off your wedding at Beechenhill!

The judges decision is final.

(There is some media interest in this idea- please let us know if you would rather not be contacted.)

Come and visit

Contact us to discuss or book to come and see the Haybarn, we would love to hear from you!

Available Dates

The available 2014 dates to choose from are the weekends of:

  • 28th-30th March
  • 4th-6th April
  • 11th-13th April
  • 18th-20th April (Easter)
  • 25th-27th April
  • 2nd-4th May
  • 5th-7th September
  • 12th-14th September


Posted in culture, Derbyshire, eco, eco tourism, environmental, food, green stuff, organics, Peak District, Staffordshire, travel, Uncategorized, weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Global Award for Peak District Farm?

Beechenhill Farm up for Global Award

Beechenhill Farm has been short-listed out of 1600 global nominations in the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards.  Responsible tourism; having more fun and better experiences because you are not harming the planet,  is at the core of what we offer at Beechenhill Farm.

Beechenhill organic Farm in the Staffordshire Peak District in the middle of England

Beechenhill Farm in the Staffordshire Peak District in England’s rural heart

It’s amazing just to be nominated and incredible to reach the finals of this prestigious international Award- we are so delighted!!

We have such a small business compared to many of the other nominees, I think, maybe, we are in the final because of our Pilot Light Project, a programme of developments and activity to reduce the environmental impact of our farming and tourism business on the protected landscape of the beautiful Peak District National Park.

We already hold the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark, a GOLD Green Tourism Business Award and were 2009 finalists in the Virgin Holidays Responsible Travel Awards, we are all keeping our fingers crossed.

Over the last three years our Staffordshire Peak District business has reduced its carbon footprint from 41 tonnes to 14.4 tonnes by installing a range of renewable technologies;

  • Low energy lighting
  • Natural sun tunnel
  • 120kw biomass (pellet) boilers and mini district main
  • 8Kw Solar Photo Voltaic arrays
  • Under floor heating systems
  • Rayburn cooker conversion
  • Induction cookers
  • Electric bikes and an electric car charging unit
  • insulating lime plaster
  • rain water harvesting
Participants at a Pilot Light demonstration day at Beechenhill Farm

Participants viewing renewable technologies at a Pilot Light demonstration day at Beechenhill Farm

The unique thing is that we have made these changes not only to safeguard our own resources but also to demonstrate to other small businesses and visitors how to do it too.  We hold Pilot Light Demonstration days.  Feedback from a recent event said:

  • “A fantastic in-depth ‘personable’ event. Really easy to ask questions & information given in a way which was easy to understand”
  • “Very good visit which demonstrated sustainable technology on a small scale, which we all should aspire to. Refreshingly enthusiastic family, who are making a real impact”.

Our B&B and Cottage guests are warmer and cosier in our accommodation and they love to understand how we do things and are often inspired to try out ideas at home.

If we are to lessen our impact on the environment and reduce our costs we need to have the confidence to choose environmentally friendly versions when replacing equipment and investing, it always helps to see someone who has tried it out first!

Wish us luck! The Award ceremony takes place at the World Travel Market on 7th November 2013.

Posted in Building, Derbyshire, eco, eco tourism, environmental, farm visits, farming, green stuff, nature, organics, Peak District, rural community, Rural Economy, Sheffield, Staffordshire, travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Battle of Orgreave 1984

Folk art egg tempera painting of the Miners strike, battle at the Orgreave coking plant 1984

The Miner and the Horse II 71 cm x 107 cm egg tempera on canvas by Sue Prince

I produce Swedish style, egg tempera folk art paintings.  In Sweden this is known as a ‘Bonad’ -a decorative wall hanging (plural is Bonader).

This painting ‘the Miner and the Horse II’ came about because while researching mining on the internet before an exhibition in the Museum of Cannock Chase (a former miners’ training school), I kept seeing photographs of battle scenes that reminded me of the medieval battles painted by Paolo Uccello in 1432

Paolo Uccello's Battle of San Romano

The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello 1432

I saw on the internet a modern medieval battle, I wanted to record that in the way these events used to be recorded.  I grind pigments with a little water, then mix with egg yolk to produce a beautiful paint that works so well on gesso- rabbit skin glue and chalk.

I wanted this painting to look beautiful and therefore shock the view on closer inspection.  Surely we can’t still be having such battles?

The Miner and the Horse I is below and depicts the pit pony and his relationship with the miner.

egg tempera, Swedish style Bonad painting The Miner and the Horse I by Sue Prince

The Miner and the Horse I by Sue Prince

My Bonader are available as prints, postcards and original paintings

Posted in Art, Big society, culture, Derbyshire, folk art, rural community, Sheffield, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hand drawn Birds-Eye-View-Maps

A beautiful, quirky, hand drawn map of your place- just imagine!

We perch on our planet, precariously tilting on the curve of the earth.  We dig our roots into the soil, our foundations into the rock.  For generations we live in our landscapes, building, farming and creating our places.  I am fascinated by our presence in the landscape.  I am fascinated by hand drawn maps and the stories that appear in them,  I also make hand drawn birds-eye-view maps.

Birds eye view map of Ashbourne

Hand drawn birds eye view map of Ashbourne in Derbyshire

The process:

  • First study the OS map to understand the skeleton of the place
  • Sketch the rough map at about A1 size with pencil on card
  • Walk and draw the town, taking lots of photos, noticing roof colours, odd features
  • Complete the pencil sketch and get copies made
  • Invite commissioners of the map to check for accuracy, adding and amending where necessary
  • Trace the sketch onto drawing film using Rotring Rapidoliners and black ink
  • Scan the drawing to create a digital file
  • Colour the picture in Photoshop
Pencil sketch of Elton

Initial pencil sketch of Elton in the Derbyshire Peak District

Ink drawing on film of Elton

Second stage, the ink tracing on drawing film of Elton in the Peak District

Black and white digital version of the Elton birds eye view map

The black and white digital version of the Elton birds eye view map, ready for colouring

Birds eye view map of Elton Village Derbyshire Peak District

Completed birds eye view map of Elton Village in the Derbyshire Peak District

Posted in Art, Building, Business, Children's stories, culture, Derbyshire, eco tourism, environmental, folk art, Map drawing, map making, Peak District, rural community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Save Young People, Share an Apprentice!

Do you remember the ‘Save water- share a bath’ campaign? Well, Save Young People, Share an Apprentice! Just in Staffordshire there are over 30,000 small businesses, if half of those shared an apprentice that would be 7,000 young people being given a start!

Our apprentice Zach on the tractor

On Monday, Zach, our 16 year old apprentice, got to talk about his work with Dr Stuart Burgess, the chairman of the Commission for Rural Communities . The CRC are studying the plight of rural young people “to create a picture of the employment, education and training related issues being faced by young people aged between 16 and 24 in rural areas, on the basis that young people have suffered disproportionately from the effects of the recession, to understand where experiences differ from those in urban areas, and to make recommendations for policy by central Government, and at more local levels.”

Beechenhill is a small organic dairy farm and as much as we would love to have lots of apprentices, we can’t justify full time help. BUT- with the help of DART we have been able to share Zach with another dairy farm up the road, Grove Farm at Stanshope.

It is brilliant! Zach is getting the official training he wants; He has passed his tractor test and has become quite an expert foot trimmer! Both farms and Zach are flexible about arrangements so if there is a great learning opportunity at one farm on a different day, Zach can take advantage of it. If one farmer needs extra help from Zach, it is easy to arrange.

I suppose that is how things used to be. It’s just what happened in a close rural community, young people were simply included in the working life of the village. But nowadays the barriers of paperwork and perceptions of insurance, legislation, time required and cost all get in the way of this natural community action. This is where DART have been so helpful.

Initially they arranged work experience placements from school, which is how we met Zach. We all got on; he worked hard and was a bright, quick learner. He started a Saturday job with us and then DART helped him and the two farms seamlessly to start the apprenticeship when he left school.

Because farmers are so isolated it’s not ‘natural’ for them to seek help or assistance. But sharing an apprentice has had unexpected benefits for all three parties, we are all learning new stuff through Zach. The two farms are co-operating and learning from each other where they didn’t before. Zach is making us all re-examine how we are doing things;

‘Just because I have done it this way for the last 11 years Zach, doesn’t mean I won’t listen if you come up with a better way!’

Zach and the tractor

Beechenhill's apprentice Zach and the tractor

Zach is not perfect- he gets very cross if his newly washed tractor gets dirty, but, whatever business you are in, I can thoroughly recommend taking on an apprentice, and particularly sharing an apprentice!

Go on, do it today!!

Both Business Peak District and Stoke and Staffordshire LEP have apprenticeship schemes.

Posted in Big society, Business, Derbyshire, environmental, farming, milk and dairy, organics, Peak District, rural community, Rural Economy, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Iridescent Green Dock Beetle (our organic jewel)

Nature gives us what we need. When we started our conversion to organic farming in 1998, Terry the farmer was very uncomfortable about allowing nettles, thistles and dock leaves to grow on the farm. He had grown up on a ‘tidy’ farm where such things were eliminated. One of the toughest lessons was to allow these weeds to grow.

Then we realised that even if you spray them every year, every year they come back and you spray them again and again, (putting profits into the pockets of the multinational chemical companies). So we try to reduce them by management. This is why organic food is sometimes more expensive to produce because people have spent hours in the field ‘spudding’ thistles or pulling ragwort and docks.

Gastrophysa Viridula

The Green Dock Beetle at Beechenhill Farm

Now we have a little helper- Gastrophysa Viridula, the Iridescent Green Dock Beetle. Dock leaves in meadows (mowing fields) are a bit of a nuisance. Their strong, stringy stalks in the silage (preserved grass) are not good for cows to eat and docks are very good at producing prolific seed heads. Their tap roots are very robust and difficult to pull out.

Gastrophysa Viridula eggs

Green dock beetle eggs

The jewel like dock beetle lays its little yellow eggs on the leaves, and when hatched the little beetles munch their way through the entire crop- it’s miraculous! If we were to spray either pesticide or weed killer we would lose these little friendly helpers.

Green dock beetles working on a dock leaf

Green dock beetles working on a dock leaf

Omsco (The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-op we sell our organic milk to) held a Hedgerow Safari here last week. We were able to show the children our friendly beetles, they were extremely impressed- until they saw the bank voles that was!

Fin from OMSCO with a bank vole at Beechenhill Farm

Fin from OMSCO with a bank vole at Beechenhill Farm

The contractor who cuts our silage came to check the fields a few weeks ago, ‘you’ve got a good crop of dock there’ he said. Then by the middle of June when he came to cut the fields, the docks had disappeared! ‘How have you done that?’

Dying dock leaf

Lacy remains of dock leaf after the green dock beetles have eaten

The next day we found him with a little box collecting some of the Gastrophysa Viridula and taking them off to his farm- trouble is he will have to stop spraying if he wants to keep them….

No docks left

No dock leaves left

Posted in adventure, Children's stories, Derbyshire, eco, eco tourism, environmental, farm visits, farming, food, green stuff, milk, milk and dairy, nature, organics, Peak District, Staffordshire, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments