Sustainable home pioneers Simon and Jasmine Dale are inspiring the world with their low-impact home in rural Pembrokeshire, West Wales built entirely from a dream and for less than £30,000.
Starting with just £500 in the bank, the couple now have a 3-bedroom home, for they and their two children, made entirely from reclaimed materials including glass and timber, with sheep’s wool for insulation.
Their innovative and eco-friendly dream home sits on a hill in the eco village of Lammas. The Lamas eco village was created as an alternative model for living on the land. Under the scheme, residents of the eco village, which was established in 2009, focus on low-impact living and natural building.
Water, woodland and electricity are managed collectively and the plots at Lammas are largely dedicated to growing food, land-based businesses, growing biomass and processing organic waste. Land-based enterprises include fruit and vegetable production, livestock and bees, and woodland and willow crafts.
As part of the Lammas eco village, Simon and Jasmine Dale, neither of whom come from a building or carpentry background, had to adhere to strict planning conditions of self-sufficiency within a five year period or be forced to move on.
Their inspiring story, which was recently documented for Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme, shows how when one follow’s their heart and soul it’s a win-win situation. Simon and Jasmine’s venture has payed off as the couple’s self-build project, which has since met the planning requirements, has been approved.
You can watch the story of Simon and Jasmine Dale’s low-impact home on Grand Designs here.
It’s not the first self-build home project that the couple have worked on. The Hobbit House, which was built in 2003 using £3,000-worth of materials, was the family’s first home in Wales. The Hobbit-style home was made from straw bale.
Like their first build, Simon and Jasmine Bale have relied on a team of volunteers, including friends and family, who have assisted them in manifesting their dream into the physical.
Speaking about the build of the Hobbit House, Simon Dale said: “I was not a builder. This kind of building is accessible to anyone. My main relevant skills were being able bodied, having self-belief and perseverance, and a mate or two to give a lift now and again.”
Simon and Jasmine Dale have produced a booklet, Wild by Design, which serves as a mini design toolkit to inspire creative solutions for people to live in harmony with nature.
This booklet is about the integration of the land and people at their smallholding, Berllan Dawel, part of the Lammas ecovillage in West Wales. It aims to give an introduction and an inspiration to living more sustainably.
Wild by Design includes tips on how to get started with a patch of land and making sound choices.
Wild by Design, which is available to purchase via the couple’s website beingsomewhere.net, has design summaries for a small house; kitchen and forest gardens; grazing and firewood and a land based livelihood.
The couple say: “We have found that for a few thousand pound and a few months work it is possible to create simple shelters that are in harmony with the natural landscape, ecologically sound and are a pleasure to live in.
“There is something powerfully alluring in such natural buildings. Their simplicity and cost makes them accessible; their beauty and use of natural materials remind us of our ancestral right and ability to live well as part of the landscape/nature/earth. We believe this dream is possible for anyone with genuine intention, will and hard work.”
All images: © Channel 4
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer specialising in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com