Renewable energy at Croft Castle

The farmyard and store room where the biomass boiler is at Croft Castle in Herefordshire

Here at Croft, we have our very own biomass boiler helping fuel the estate. The biomass heating system provides around 75 per cent of the property’s heating, saving 19,500 litres of oil per year as well as 52 tonnes of CO2.

At Croft, it's the conifer woodland on the estate which supplies heat to the castle. Our ancient woodland was partly replaced with conifers after the Second World War, as they grew quickly and could be harvested for timber. Parts of the conifer plantation are being felled and replanted with native broadleaves to encourage wildlife and biodiversity.

Woodchips are used in the biomass woodfuel boiler
Woodchips in storage for use in the biomass woodfuel boiler at Sheringham Park, Norfolk

'The woodchip from the felled conifers fuels a new biomass boiler and provides three quarters of the energy needed to heat the house', explains Countryside Manager Iain Carter. 'We've also cut back some of the native broadleaf trees to encourage coppice growth, when shoots regrow from the main stump of the tree. Shrub will grow here too, so we create layers of new growth and that's what our wildlife likes - the high forest and layers of plants.'

Dame Helen Ghosh and Good Energy CEO Juliet Davenport in conversation at Croft Castle in Herefordshire
Dame Helen Ghosh and Good Energy CEO Juliet Davenport in conversation at Croft Castle in Herefordshire

Director-General Helen Ghosh visited Croft last year to see the biomass boiler in action and meet with Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy - the Trust's green energy partner. Ghosh reiterated that the biggest conservation challenge to the nation is climate change. That's why, by 2020, we aim to source half of our energy across the Trust from renewable sources.

Check out our video which shows how we're getting warmth from the woods and helping to build a sustainable future: