The Old Barn self-catering cottage in Tregonetha has won the Best Eco-Friendly Rental category of Schofield’s Holiday Home Awards 2019.

Described by the judges as “a shining example of how self-catering accommodation providers can be sustainable, responsible and ethical in terms of their impact on the environment”, owner Stephen Chidgey beat off shortlisted competition from property owners in Wales, the Outer Hebrides and Northern Ireland to win the title.

Having first bought The Old Barn in 1988, he gave the 250-year-old cottage a complete overhaul 25 years later.

“The building had damp, the roof was in poor shape and the windows and doors needed replacing,” he said. “Worst of all, was the energy consumption. I had an old oil-fired Aga and an oil-fired central heating system that were both proving hugely expensive and I didn’t want to go on paying those sort of bills – especially when I retired.”

Cue a transformation that Chidgey designed himself. Sustainability was key so, as well as undertaking a complete refurbishment, he also had a ground source heat pump fitted under the garden, installed solar panels in the roof and harvested rain water for the washing machine and toilet. Unusually for a single self-catering property, Chidgey also put in two electric charge points.

The makeover resulted in impressive business success, with high levels of bookings achieved every year since and a clutch of accolades that include winning several golds in the Cornwall and South West Tourism Awards.