Cotehele National Trust


For some time the National Trust has been assessing the risk climate change poses to its houses, gardens, coast and countryside as well as their impact on the wider environment. Cotehele National Trust includes a mill, 15 century chapel and Cotehele Quay. They receive around 100,000 visitors a year to its Barn Restaurant and Edgcumbe Arms Tearoom. Toby Fox, National Trust Property Manager for Cotehele, said, “We are all concerned about the threat of climate change and as an environmental charity we are doing as much as we can to reduce our own carbon footprint.”


The Problem

Cotehele’s restaurant and tearoom whilst using fresh, seasonal, un-processed and locally grown produce also generates 500-600 litres of food and organic waste. Their mission became to recycle all food on site, reduce the need for buying compost, not use labour intensive methods and increase awareness of composting to visitors and the local community.

The Solution

Cotehele approached us after researching the least labour intensive recycling solutions and our A500 Rocket® In-Vessel Composter came out on top!

The Product

The A500 Rocket® can effectively recycle up to 600 litres of mixed waste each week and costs around 50p per week to run. We also offer waste audits to monitor and assess the levels of food waste currently produced on-site so we can recommend the right re-cycling system for each individual customer.



Cotehele successfully applied for a Sustainable Development Fund administered by the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Service. This was increased with funding from DEFRA through the National Trust’s Small Steps Big Change project.


In the first year 31,000 litres of waste were processed through the Rocket®. This has reduced potential waste to landfill by an astonishing 15 tonnes. The gardening team also report that the Rocket® kills Convolvulus and Aegopodium, which present perennial weed problems in the UK. The compost produced is being used as a mulch to suppress weed growth, reduce chemical use and reduce the need for watering.


What They Said About Us

David Bouch, Head Gardener, commented, “Getting used to the Rocket® has not been a huge challenge. All of the team wanted this to work and without this support any system will not be successful.”

David offers this advice, “Taking great care to measure and record material inputs prior to purchase will ensure that a machine is not run above capacity, which can hamper the composting process. I started adding just raw waste (at a ratio of 1:1) before moving onto cooked waste so I was happy that I was able to operate the system. Put one person in charge who is interested in the process and if the system doesn’t seem to be working just spend a little more time getting it under control. Pardon the pun but it’s not rocket science!”

We are really pleased the project has worked as a result of a great collaborative effort between Nick Stokes, Learning Officer at Cotehele, David Bouch and the gardening and catering teams.

Toby Fox is enthusiastic about the results, “We are thrilled with how the project is going so far and we hope to develop more ways to reduce the impacts of climate change over the next few years.”

Nick Stokes said, “This has been a fantastic opportunity for Cotehele to work with a Lipson Community College and local artist Jo Tyler to share the story of composting and raise awareness of this important environmental issue.” Jo Tyler also designed an eye catching cover for the Rocket® which tells the story of composting. We are delighted that Cotehele is one of four National Trust estates now using the Rocket®.