Just turn up
When David and Sophy bought the farm, the house was derelict, with a tin roof over the thatch. Renovating the building required a spartan winter before hot water was available. David runs the farm and also constructs timber frames in traditional ways, using local oak, Douglas fir and larch and time-honoured construction techniques. He left the oldtimber roof in place and built a new one over it. The low-impact of this was demonstrated when a bat survey counted 52 bats in the new roof!
Next was an extension designed entirely by Sophy and David, which doubled the size of the house, constructed with green oak using long-established principles and ingenious three dimensional joints. Oak lath and lime plaster cover the walls.
The slate roof has photovoltaic (PV) panels inset into the roof rather than mounted over the slates, to minimise visual impact (and save on slates!). The 4.8kW panels feed into a 3.6kW invertor with Solar Edge technology, allowing the performance of each panel to the monitored over the internet. Excess electricity is fed via a solar iBoost device to a 330litre water cylinder which act as a heat store. The modified Raeburn wood-burning range with back burner adds to the hot water in colder months, and when the tank reaches 70°C hot water is fed into an underfloor heating system. The system requires around 10 tons of wood per year, mostly harvested from their own woodlands.
The water comes from a spring which feeds an external cistern, and the overflow goes into a large pond excavated by David as a natural haven for wildlife. A home purifying system turns this into drinking water.
A new barn by the entrance to the farm is being constructed at the time of writing, with a jigsaw of Douglas fir and bent oak pieces with elaborate joints locked together with wooden pegs.
David and Sophy’s philosophy is of low impact living, a love of natural materials and traditional crafts, and a life lived in close contact with the land.