Sustainable Woodland Home
Simon Dale wanted a life a little more soulful for his family. He did not want to spend his best years working to live an unsustainable existence in order to pay for a conventional, same-y concrete box. So he moved to Wales in the UK and tucked into a grassy hillside he built a small, woodland home in four months costing him just£3,000 using only a chainsaw, hammer a chisel and plenty of chutzpah. He lucked out when the owner gave them the plot of land in return for looking after the area.
The house looks like something out of a book by Tolkein. It seems to be rich in what matters and feels entirely…satisfying. He had no experience in home building and did it by sheer force of nature (literally), where his actions backed his determination and he began scavenging materials from skips and the surrounding land and learning ‘on the hoof’. The house keeps warm from a cosy log burner, he has diverted water from a nearby stream, the fridge is cooled by air beneath the foundations, and energy is solar powered.
“Being your own have-a-go architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land rather than, at worst, a mass-produced box designed for maximum profit and the convenience of the construction industry. Building from natural materials does away with producers’ profits and the cocktail of carcinogenic poisons that fill most modern buildings.”
It shows what can be done when we take the time to really consider what we want out of life.
It reminds us that one size does not fit all. His choices may not be for everyone, but likewise, treading the conventional path without first examining forensically whether it really fits you should also be avoided.
I hear a lot of ‘I’d like to do..xxx..but because of..xxx..I can’t. I’m trapped.’ And those reasons and stumbling blocks were often ably created by the person themselves. So this is a good reminder to think, re-think, act and create our own futures like the free people we were supposed to be and not like unthinking lemmings. The time to begin to do that is always…now.
I love the home. I love the idea. I love the views. I love the attitude. I love the freedom – although as the eternal risk assessor I would be concerned about the future of the land.
How about you?
Mr Dale has built his house using the same principles by which I live my own. Sustainability. Simplicity. Freedom. Independence. Always aiming to own what you work so hard for, rather than supporting the prevailing structure of lifelong indebtedness. He and I share the pleasure of looking around our self designed homes and knowing where all the bits came from, although he wipes the floor with mine for natural materials.
Knowing one’s skill and sweat provided directly for one’s family, rather than infantilizing government handouts and interference is an immeasurable bonus and I admire him immensely for not only thinking out of the box but challenging himself to stomp on it and kick it down the Welsh hillside.