As a business whose success is intrinsically connected to the beauty and grandeur of Cumbria’s natural environment, it is no surprise that Newlands Adventure Centre and Keswick Climbing Wall make an effort to be sustainable.

However, this is somewhat of an understatement for a business that has been nominated for or won nearly 10 awards for its sustainable practices over the last 10 years - including being a finalist in the Best Green/Ethical Business Category of the in-Cumbria Business Awards 2019.

The business, which has been running since 1905 - making it the oldest outdoor centre in the UK - comprises the adventure centre at the foot of Catbells overlooking Derwentwater and climbing wall not far from Castlerigg Stone Circle.

It provides activities for families, school groups and individuals taking in everything from rock climbing and canoeing to archery and cycle tours, employing a team of eight full-time and 12 seasonal staff.

Director and climbing wall manager Debbie Beament, who works alongside managing director and husband Rik Beament, as well as business partner Iain Brooks says although their sustainable efforts are about cutting carbon emissions and looking after nature it is also just as important to guarantee a

long-term future for the business.

"Everybody thinks it's about separating the rubbish, turning the lights off and stuff like that but that's only a tiny fraction of it," she says.

"Sustainability is about making sure your business is sustainable and ensuring that it's still there day after day. By doing a lot of these measures, you're going to be saving money as well as doing your bit by being a responsible adult on the planet.”

The huge number of actions it has taken include measures to make sure staff accommodation is as energy efficient as possible, reducing waste by increasing its recycling percentage to 72 per cent last year, recycling cooking oil and shredding waste paper for use as animal bedding.

Staff live on site to remove the need for them to commute to work and customers are also offered a 10 per cent discount for arriving by public transport. Routes used for driving customers to do the various activities are also carefully specified to ensure they are the most fuel efficient.

The business also works closely with its suppliers to make sure they are operating in an environmentally sustainable way.

"A lot of companies talk the talk but don't walk the walk," says Debbie.

"It's really, really important if you're going to be credible that you have to work with people that are like-minded.”

Debbie and the team are also focused on helping visitors learn more about the environment of the Lake District.

“We try to do it quite gently, because you've got to remember that people are here on holiday, whether it's a school or a family or an individual," says Debbie.

"We try and make them aware of what's going on around them.

“If you walk up the Newlands Valley you can see the scree from mining and sometimes people get surprised when they realise that they're actually in quite a manmade environment."

While doing their utmost to be environmentally friendly, they have also worked hard to future-proof the business by developing new ventures such as the Hungry Heifer cafe and a mobile climbing wall, which travels to events all around Cumbria.

They have also created wildlife areas at both of its sites, as well as one in Rookery Woods, near the climbing wall, which is also an adventure play area where zip lines, slides and mazes sit alongside bird hides, feeders, bat boxes, red squirrel feeders, nesting boxes and bug hotels.

Debbie says as well as providing a home for native wildlife, Rookery Woods has also expanded the scope of the business as it is somewhere for younger children to have fun who cannot take part in other pursuits.

"We have kids running around the woods and ziplines going overhead,” says Debbie.

“I was standing there the other day looking at two water voles and a leveret, all this was happening about them. The voles were just washing their faces and the leverett was eating a bit of grass. If you just leave a patch to go wild it’s amazing what will actually live there.”