Eco House in the Hills
25 Dec 2005
Kate Grubb was appalled by all the waste generated by holiday makers whobring supermarket-bought food. She matched a ’29,000 Rural Enterprise Scheme Grant and built an Eco Cabin on the family’s farm land.
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A year ago, farmer’s wife, Kate Grubb, was cleaning self catering cottages in South Shropshire to make a few pennies after the birth of her daughter. Appalled by all the waste generated by holiday makers who bring supermarket-bought food and buy little locally, she matched a ’29,000 Rural Enterprise Scheme Grant from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and then built an Eco Cabin on the family’s farm land.
Set in a secluded valley, the cabin’s wooden sun porch looks out to the Long Mynd and Wales. It is entirely built from environmentally friendly recycled or reclaimed materials and uses renewable energy sources. It has walls and floors of local Douglas Fir and Ash, strengthened by reed boards and insulated with sheep’s wool from the UK. Inside, the walls are adobe smooth, painted with non-toxic paints. Solar panels heat the water in summer while winter heat pours from a wood pellet stove.
Inside, Kate has added contemporary furniture and crafts all made by local artists. The kitchen has a worktop made from recycled yoghurt pots, flecked by the silver lids, a colourful ‘painting’ is actually melted down wellington boots and the kettle whistles when it boils.
The cabin sleeps four (one double, one twin) with organic cotton bedding, naturally dyed. I bathed in naturally preserved heather foam bath, washed my hair with organic aloe vera and soaked dishes in chemical free liquid. I made soup from organic vegetables which I had pre-ordered from a list of goodies from small scale, local producers. It included smoked salmon, Weobley butter, fruit cake and eggs. I prepared the veg on the porch, scattered the peel in the wormery, and watched the lambs in the field with a glass of blackberry and elderberry wine.
When Kate’s newly planted cooking apple and pear trees have grown a bit and the native wildflowers sprout, the garden will not look so bare. Some guests might not like being adjacent to the farm with its cows, sheep and birdsong, but it makes for an interesting morning alarm call. Each day I walked a different route over pastures or followed the hawthorn hedge lanes without meeting a soul.
If you love the outdoors, your planet and sheep, this is an impressive retreat in which to eat proper food and to practise the art of sustainable living.
Contact: Kate Grubb, Eco Cabin, Obley, Near Bucknell, Shropshire.
Tel: 01547 530183 www.ecocabin.co.uk
Photo: Eco Cabin in Shropshire hills
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