There are three branches to our vision, depending which way we look: to the past, the present or the future.
Villandás was a community before we came here. We respect the depth of knowledge and experience in the people that grew up here, from the way they tend their vegetable gardens without pesticides or fertilizers to the way they build and maintain their houses. Our vision of sustainability includes the people of the village around us, their history, their knowledge and their traditional practices.
Pisón de Fondón is a restored spelt mill. Carmen used traditional materials to restore the building, and antiques that were donated by people in the village. She honoured the traditional use of the building by preserving its name.
We live in a time of change. The idea of Villandas Rural has grown over the past two years. Carmen has restored a barn. This project required a more substantial remodelling than the spelt mill and she was able to think about the project in other terms: how the most modern heating, lighting and comfort could combine with traditional materials and techniques to create new spaces, full of light and colour.
From the inception of the project every detail was thought through with respect for the environment, from the insulation in the roof, to the wax on the floor of the light-filled living room. Carmen installed a heating system that uses pellets- the most environmentally-friendly way of heating that she could find.
She has also been working on her gardens, with the help of Organic Farm volunteers from the WWOOF organisation. There is a separate garden for the new house and a larger garden with a vegetable plot that is open to all. We want to grow a lot of the food we eat in these gardens. Aside from the trees, vegetable plots and fruit bushes, Carmen has also laid out flower gardens that provide spaces where people can relax and enjoy the quiet of this unspoilt rural environment.
We feel that we are custodians of this land during our lifetimes, but that the land will continue after us. We want to provide a link between the past and that future, handing on things that are valuable from the past and constantly learning right now about the best and most respectful way to look after this place. We plant trees that will outlive us, our children and our children’s children; we struggle to create a culture that will not cut those trees down.
The countryside is changing. The traditional ways of living are less and less sustainable economically and the rural population is getting older and older. We want to bring new life to the village. Shakespeare in the Mountains is Jason’s project to bring people from far afield to this unique place. It is a small-scale project: we feel that small-scale projects are intrinsically more respectful. This is not traditional tourism; it is a combination of reading, walking and good food in a unique part of the world. We would like to feel that what we do will help to sustain Villandás into the next generation as the traditional economy shrinks.
Our commitment to green tourism includes the:
Use of environmentall-friendly products for cleaning and restoration.
Use of energy-efficient lighting where possible
Use of email to manage bookings
Use of energy-efficient domestic appliances
Use of natural fertilisers (compost) and pest control in our gardens.
We support local businesses: in the house you will find leaflets concerning local products (cider, cheese, bread….) as well as information about the local market, and places to visit and go shopping in the local area.
Since we live here we are available to answer questions and give advice. We all speak English. Children often like to join us in the garden and young people enjoy learning about the traditional cattle-farming methods of our friendly neighbours.
We are involved in groups who aim to improve the village, including the village association of Villandás which was named Pueblo Ejemplar in 2014 for the Concejo of Grado.
We are proud to live in Asturias whose slogan is Natural Paradise and we do everything we can to keep it that way.