Not Making A Mountain out of a Molehill when it comes to Sustainability

The Three Moles is located in the heart of the South Downs National Park, in the beautiful village of Selham. It is a traditional country pub bursting with history and character, and a true dedication to sustainability. 

By Des O'Flanagan, co-founder, PubAid

12 May 2024

For such a historic pub, it first opened in 1872 as the Railway Inn, the team have a very modern approach to protecting the environment which they just take in their stride and continuously think of new ways to protect natural resources and wildlife. 

They have upgraded all car park lighting and gates to solar power and, being in a dark skies area, all their lighting is low level and faces downwards to protect the night sky. All internal lights have been changed to LED and timers have been installed on all cellar cooling equipment to reduce the time they are running. The menu has even been changed to reduce equipment running in the kitchen to cut down on energy use. The windows have been upgraded to double glazing and they have insulated everywhere possible in a 152 year old building. All of these changes have added up to dramatically reduce electricity usage and have saved around 9000 kWh per year. 

The two owners, Tom and Ollie, took over the pub in 2017 and since then they have worked hard to protect the local area and wildlife as well as make changes to the pub itself. 

Outside the team litter pick every week and have set up a local ‘buy sell swap giveaway and wanted’ Facebook group to reduce items going to landfill. Everything they can possibly recycle is recycled. This includes all food and garden waste being composted and have removed single use plastic from the pub. 

Their beautiful pub gardens are home to many bird boxes and feeders and one robin loved the pub so much that it nested in the indoor Christmas tree one year! It would follow the team around outside and come inside to perch on the bar before making itself at home in the tree. 

As they are off grid, they rely on oil for heating and hot water, however when they changed the boiler to a modern blue flame boiler it was far more efficient and has cut oil use by around 1000 litres a year.

They have also managed to reduce water consumption by over half by turning off the automatic flush on urinals, the team manually flush throughout the day instead. 

They are a member of carbon free dining which has seen them plant over 2500 trees. The scheme automatically adds 99p to the bill every time someone dines at the pub and for each 99p collected a fruit tree is planted in a developing country.

Tom and Ollie have truly transformed the pub, helping to save the planet as well as their pocket by reducing so many costs. They lease the building so all of the investment has come from them personally as they want to be truly ethical business owners. The Three Moles is described as the village living room where everyone is welcome to come and have a great time.  There is always a very friendly atmosphere and their loyal local customers just cannot keep away.

The Three Moles has been awarded countless awards for its beer, food and sustainability efforts. They won a St Austell Brewery Masters Certificate for serving their beer to the highest standard and a Cask Marque Certificate of. They also hold a five star Beer Marque award, a five star Cellar rating, a five star Food Hygiene rating and was voted as West Sussex Pub of the Year for many years. 

For their sustainability work they received a silver award from the South Downs National Park Authority’s ‘Green South Downs’ programme and a Sustainability Champion award from the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII). Most recently The Three Moles was also a finalist in the PubAid Community Pub Hero awards in the sustainability category. 

A final, fun fact to end on.. It’s the only pub in the world with the name The Three Moles.

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