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StrattonsToday's Guardian has a good round-up of eco-friendly hotels abroad (the story doesn't seem to be online yet). To the G's list I'm adding one of my personal favourites - Strattons in Swaffham, Norfolk. As well as having luxurious rooms, idyllic surroundings and some of the UK's finest cheese - I eat a lotta curdled milk - the place recycles virtually all of its waste, has cupboards of green awards and sources the vast majority of its gorgeous grub locally. There are only eight rooms, so get in now if you're after one for a summer getaway (I went for the cheaper Seagull, which is superb).

What are your favourite eco-friendly places to stay?

Millshop4If you're holidaying in Devon this year - and frankly you should be, considering the sun it's enjoying - then drop in at the Town Mill in Lyme Regis. It reopened just over four years ago thanks to a local Trust and a fat donation from John "French Lieutentants Woman" Fowles and has been milling up organic flour ever since (the wheat comes from nearby Tamarisk Farm). You can also visit the art gallery, take a tour of the water-powered mill and buy Town Mill's own recipe book for scones, biscuits and other baking joys. Lyme Regis Town Mill

GmapsWhen it comes to green transport, you can't get greener than walking. And when it comes to being smug and measuring how far you've walked, pedometers don't get more hi-tech than the Gmaps Pedometer. It's a free and very clever Google Maps hack that'll show you how long a route actually is - all you have to do is doubleclick your course on the draggable map and it'll calcuate the distance. As the weather forecast is sun, sun and sun this weekend, you've got the perfect opportunity to try it out. [found via Lifehacker]

FiftyfiftyDown at the RCA graduate show at the weekend I saw a whole host of intelligent eco-minded design - including this electric bicycle project, fiftyfifty. The big idea is that all the motorised parts - 2kg worth of battery, motor, transmission, gearing - are on one wheel, making it lighter than your average 'assisted' bike. Max Wehebrink, its designer, reckons he'll be able to make the overall bike as light as 12kg. He's also planning on offering fiftyfifty as a retrofit for those wanting an extra boost in the morning. It's not for sale yet, but let's cross those cycle-gloved fingers that it goes into production. Max Wehebrink's website.

Hitchhiking_1No, I'm not suggesting you hitchhike oop north - the British ceased stopping for hitchhikers back in the 70s. I'm proposing you visit the Freewheelers lift-sharing website. It's a rather nifty place for drivers and passsengers to meet, and there are already two lifts on offer to Gleneagles for the big G8 romp. One's going from Newbury, the other's a very cool bloke offering 6 seats leaving from Glastonbury next Wednesday (he's either a local Somerset man or a hardcore Glasto fan). If you're planning on driving, there are several people looking for lifts from all over. It's not only very green, it's also a - potentially - superb way to make some new friends. G8 Gleneagles liftshare page. (thanks, Daniel H)

PylonStill prevaricating about whether to ditch the bus for an about-town bicycle? Here's an incentive to help you off the fence: Alex Moulton's classic NS Speed Stainless bike (pictured) is up for a design award for its featherlight weight, gorgeous looks and ability to motor along despite having tiny wheels. Regardless of whether it wins, the nomination by James "cyclone vac" Dyson adds a lot of credibility to this ideal city commuter. It's up against the iPod, Millennium Dome and Jasper Morrison in the New Designers' awards. You can vote here and find an Alex Moulton dealer here. [found via Treehugger]

BikefestBike looking a bit rusty? Brakes squeaking at the lights and gears making more noise than a Harley Davidson? Get your bike down to the BikeFest on Sun 12th June in Trafalgar Square - they're offering free cycle health checks to everyone. You can also learn how to do puncture repairs - an essential for any city cyclist -  plus trial a multitude of cycles and check out the games, cycle art (poems, paintings) and fashion show. BikeFest kicks off BikeWeek, which is organising 2,000 local events across the UK between the 11th and 19th June.

RidgebackNow there's an added bonus to living in the west country - as well as getting the best cider, you can win prizes just by travelling green. Next month's officially been declared Jam Busting June by the councils of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. To take part and win prizes, all you have to do is live in one of those areas and cycle, commute by public transport or carshare instead of driving solo. Prizes include a £395 bike, spa vouchers, free bus passes and a ticket to Bristol Zoo (check out the Red Pandas). The councils aren't quite so online-savvy - you have to call 0117 903 6673 for a registration pack to take part. [found via BBC News]

Hokeyspokes003small_1 I've blathered about the Hokey Spokes before, but this time I write having tried them for them myself. They're essentially twenty-first century spoke reflectors, swapping reflective plastic for programmable LEDs that project words and patterns as you cycle. If you like slightly tacky, neon-style lightshows - I do, I love Dan Flavin - you'll like the effect. They do a good job of increasing your visibility to over-eager drivers pulling out of junctions as they catch the eye much like a flashing Cat Eye LED light. Mercifully, they're also very easy to fit - all you need is a screwdriver and five minutes to screw them onto two spokes on each wheel. There are, however, two downers for me. First is that the Hokey Spokes are far heavier than normal reflectors; second is that no matter how securely you fit one to your front wheel, it'll rattle round and make an annoying noise simply because front wheels take so much punishment. Still, at £20 each, you could afford to try them out for yourself.

TangocroppedYour guess is as good as mine when it comes to predicting the UK launch date for this fabulous-looking electric car. However, if the growing UK appetite for electric scooters and cars is anything to go by, chances are it may be sooner rather than later. I certainly hope so, as ProDrive's 2-seater Tango not only looks superb - it's also very green, clocking up 80 miles on one charge and producing zero emissions (provided it's charged by green eleccie). It should be a cinch to park - it's only 39 inches wide - and it's unusually nippy for a electric motor, reportedly going from 0-60mph in 4 seconds and reaching a top speed of 150mph. George Clooney's already bagsied the first production model; Americans can preorder at Commuter Cars; everyone else can lust over the images here. [thanks, Jerry]

Cycle_signSustrans' online cycle maps aren't new, but they are well worth a look if you're a fairweather cyclist who's just dusted off their bike for summer. You can search by postcode or town, and quickly map out a route that swaps dual carriageways for quiet backroads, cycle-friendly towpaths and beautiful beach byways. What you can't do yet is pull up an A-B route guide, Google Maps-style. London cyclists should also order some of TFL's excellent free cycle maps online and take a look at the London Cycle Network's Java map (which - to be honest - isn't as quick or as clear as Sustrans' one, and requires registration).

[similar: the pedal-powered phone charger]

Croissantneuf2And I thought Glastonbury was green. This year's Big Green Gathering - a spin-off from Glasto's Green Fields, funnily enough - is green right down to the PA systems, the trinkets at the market stalls and the journey there. Though the festival hasn't confirmed any big name acts, it promises folk, reggae, hip-hop, world and techno on a variety of wind, solar and pedal-powered stages. Aside from the music, there's the chance to carve sculptures, meditate and take part in several dozen hardcore hippy activities. Travel-wise, you can cycle (it's going to have proper lock-ups), share a lift or take one of the laid-on buses. It's at Mendip Hills, just outside Cheddar (west!) running from 3-7 August. Adult tickets are £90 each.

FalferryHurrah! The Bank Holiday weekend has arrived. And what better way to spend it than by visiting one of the National Trust's gorgeous country piles? In a praiseworthy bribe to make you leave your car at home, the Trust is offering 2-for-1 entry to all its properties if you travel by train instead. You just need to download and print this PDF voucher. There are about 200-odd places to visit, such as Chartwell - Churchill's old pad - which you can reach by train and bus, or Trelissick, an estate with an Eden-like garden that you can catch the ferry to (pictured). The offer runs from May 1st to the end of June.

Civic_imaChances are you know all about the Toyota Prius and its hybrid engine. But have you heard of its lesser known Honda rival, the IMA Civic? This 4 door Saloon's been around for nigh on 2 years but I mention it now because you can pick up a secondhand one for a - comparatively speaking - bargain-tastic £10,500. I say "pick up". Of course I mean "pull away in an ultra quiet fashion with its electric motor". Like the  Prius, it has both a petrol and an electric engine, the latter kicking in at low speeds and recharging when you brake. Honda rate the MPG at a whopping 57 - 2 more than the Prius. I've not driven the Civic but the verdict on the driving experience is mixed - Tom, a HippyShopper reader, bought one and says "I've never been a fan of Hondas... but I'm really impressed with it" while WhatCar reckon it's "mushy" to drive. The only other downer is that it looks about as exciting as a night out in Tunbridge Wells, a crime the Prius is equally guilty of.

MeadowbarnI discovered Organic Holidays today, which is a superb, self-explanatory listings site of places that'll serve up organic food and drink. Its got details of hundreds of villas, farms and barns, from Dodbrooke Farm and its organic kitchen garden (pictured) to the Alavera de los Banos hotel in Andalucia, which uses organic veg in its restaurant. The majority of the accomodation is European and the UK listings appears to be the most comprehensive. The one thing to be wary of is that Organic Holidays doesn't vet whether properties really are 'organic', so you'll need to do a bit of digging around to check credentials (or pick somewhere certified by the Soil Association). [found via Treehugger] 

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