We met up with Pete George from Eat Sleep Axe & Escape Rooms Cheltenham to see how he is bringing sustainability to his businesses.
Urban Axe Throwing
The sport of axe throwing has a long history, (back to the 3rd Century at least) and today there are axe throwing leagues, competitions, and outdoor ranges around the world. More recently, bringing axe throwing indoors has become popular, and Eat Sleep Axe provides that unique experience in Cheltenham. Axes are thrown at wooden boards with different targets projected onto them.
The main ‘consumables’ of axe throwing are the wooden targets. It’s common practice to make targets from pre-treated wooden fenceposts, which need to be replaced frequently and can’t be re-used easily due to the toxic chemicals used to preserve them.
Pete sources untreated, UK grown Douglas Pine from Hillbarns Sawmill in Broadway and uses end grain for his targets. This helps the wood last longer and offers more potential for reuse. At the moment, the used wood has a second life as fuel for log burners, but he’s also exploring options to turn it into bark chippings for garden landscaping.
Pete also runs Escape Rooms Cheltenham, based in the same building. They pick local themes and most of the props and furniture have been upcycled as vintage props add period character! Once the escape room is refreshed with a new theme, most of the props have a second (or maybe third life) and are donated back to local charity shops or sold. Great example of circularity, supporting local and not wasting resources.
Challenges & Opportunities
The main sustainability challenges arise from the age and style of the building. While the ground floor is extensively insulated (for the escape rooms), there is limited insulation in the first floor and the building is leased. Where possible LED lighting is being used and customers recycle any food or drink containers used on site. Eat Sleep Axe offer glass hire to reduce single use plastics and has a bring your own refreshments option too. Pete is also passionate about giving back to the local community and recently held a fundraiser for Leckhampton Rovers’ wildlife pond and climate change trail.
Eat Sleep Axe Update: We bought a woodland!
The wood is located in South Gloucestershire, near Dursley, and is a mix of native English trees, Birch, Beech, Sycamore, Oak, and Hazel. There are many mature trees as well as a large proportion of self-seeded new trees. Ramsons and Bluebells grow amongst the undergrowth, indicating that it is ancient woodland (over 400 yrs old at least).
What Will It Be Used For?
The woodland will be managed specifically to conserve it for its own (and the planet’s) sake only. It will not be managed commercially. In general, we will keep it as wild as possible with minimal interference.
Why Buy An Established Woodland?
We want to highlight the importance of trees to the planet, as well as conserve a small piece of the Gloucestershire countryside.
An average mature tree will absorb about 20 kg of CO2 every year. Planting new trees is also a great way to help combat global warming (and we plan to do that in future too), but conserving established mature trees is just as vital.
As a Gloucestershire small business, we also wanted to base our woodland conservation in the local area – rather than just outsource that to some global woodland charity (as much as they do vital work too).