1) Simon Dale decided to take to the hills and create his own wooden eco-home in Wales after becoming fed up with his large mortgage payments. With help from his father-in-law and friends, he was able to complete the build in just 4 months. ‘The Hobbit House’ cost £3,000 to create and provides Dale and his family with a place of refuge while they tend to woodland in the surrounding area. It was constructed using a frame of spare oak, its turfed roof was covered with a layer of plastic in order to keep it watertight, and mud came in particularly handy for retaining the roof, walls and foundations, which are kept insulated by stacks of straw bales.
2) Charlie and Megan built their home on private land belonging to Charlie’s parents in Glandwr, Pembrokeshire. The build was driven by their desire to provide their child with a healthy environment to grow up in at a price they could afford whilst living in close proximity to their nearest and dearest. Impressively, a whole tree was used in order to provide the supporting structure. Taking less than 12 months to build, the house was made using straw bales rendered in lime. It is now said to be worth up to £20,000.
3) Software engineer Steve James built this eco cottage by a loch near Dumfries, Scotland. Fuelled by his passion for eco-homes, the build took him 10 months to create and cost him £4,000. The walls of the house are made from 200 oat-straw bales, which were stacked like bricks and held together with wooden stakes. A beautiful galleried bedroom was built into the roof space, with the help of a tree trunk, which was laid through the span of the roof to support the bedroom floor. A Lebanon cedar tree which had fallen in a Glaswegian park was also put to good use in order to create many of the home furnishings.
4) Mark Buck built this ‘Cob House’ at the bottom of his garden in Oxfordshire. Its name is derived from a method of construction that is thought to date back to the prehistoric times, in which only earth, clay and straw are used. The house took two years to build and cost just £150. Mark wanted to prove that you don’t have to spend a lifetime building a home and paying off your mortgage. A clay-based subsoil was mixed with sand, straw, water and animal dung in order to make the base of the building, while his garden provided the reed for its roof and the windscreen of an old lorry was used, rather resourcefully, in order to create several of its windows.
5) Sheep farmer Colin Stokes built this quirky construction in Chedglow, Wiltshire, after requiring a place to store hay and other supplies. Mr Stokes initially began with the intention of building a barn, using traditional dry stone walling techniques. However, after repeatedly collecting stone from surrounding fields and binding them with concrete over a period of time spanning 11 years it has grown into strikingly original build. Now boasting turrets and dovecotes, it has become a place of inhabitance for many birds. Stokes’ specialist skills as a stained glass artist were drawn upon in order to create its stunning stained glass windows.