Ecologically sound Historical Holiday Cottage accommodation in The Wye Valley
When first built Hacton was at its most basic and consisted of a stone foundation, timber framing, daub infill panels and straw for thatch. Lime washes coloured with natural pigments provided a finish to the panels and framing. Window openings would have been unglazed with perhaps animal skin as a covering. The floor was basically clay with rush matting, and the furnishings made up of simple joined furniture and wool fabrics. The only downside to what was a truly green building, was that it would have been cold, damp and smoky and rather dingy.
"Lots of footpaths nearby for good walks"
One of the ancient oaks adjoining the footpath to the river.
My own sensitivity to chemicals, and the desire to be true to the spirit of the building, drove the considerable effort made to keep materials used in the restoration as inert as possible. By keeping to natural, breathable, non-toxic, primarily locally sourced materials we have minimised any loss of integrity the building may have suffered in being brought into the 21st century.
The floor incorporates blown clay for insulation, the slab is of a lightweight lime aggregate, the heating pipes are embedded in a recycled glass/lime mix. Flagstones are from a local quarry.
The foundation of stone was recovered on site. The majority of new panels are a sandwich of lime plaster over lathing with food grade insulation for the filling, the remainder are of materials sourced on site; clay, hazel laths, hay and straw all off the farm and staves and oak laths of local origin. Timber is all from within Herefordshire.
The reed, from the Tay Estuary beds, which are managed by the RSPB, is laid directly over riven oak laths and plastered beneath with a mixture of lime putty and hemp fibre. Curtains and blinds are linen; sofas of leather. Joinery and furniture is of oak with a wax or oil finish.
Underfloor heating and hot water is powered by a ground source heat pump while all firewood for the wood burner is cut from the farm. Lighting is predominantly energy efficient.
The River Wye on the farm
So far as we are aware the pastureland and orchard that Hacton sits on has always been free of chemical input. Although a certain amount of land disturbance took place during the moving and resiting of the building, no soil was either imported onto or exported off the site, and revegetation was allowed to occur naturally without the introduction of new seed.
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Postal address: Hacton Cruck, Hacton Lane, Preston on Wye, Hereford HR2 9JU