Low-Impact Woodland House – Cynghordy, Wales - Atlas Obscura

Low-Impact Woodland House

Cynghordy, Wales

One family's environment-friendly hobbit-house in Wales. 


Using only £3000, a chisel, a chainsaw and a hammer, Simon Dale and his father-in-law raised this cozy, woodland home up from the ground in just four months.

Despite not having experience as a carpenter or contractor, he was determined to build a home that was at one with nature, embracing the landscape around him and using mostly recycled materials. With this ethical drive, Dale scrounged up wood and branches and laid out the framework for his woodland abode.

Built in 2005, the house is set into the earth, giving it the appearance of a hobbit home - but this is no fanboy ode to J.R.R. Tolkien. The design allows for increased energy-efficiency, keeping the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Separated into two floors, the ground level is a cozy living room and children’s room, heated with a wood-burning stove, while the second floor is a master bedroom. Although the house features an extremely natural aesthetic, it also has all the trappings of modern living, including solar panels that provide energy for everything from the lighting to the computer.

Dale hopes his home will be an example for others who want to live a simple, ecological lifestyle, and he plans to continue building and perfecting his vision with more homes. As of 2009, he and his family had left the hobbit house and were working to create the first Welsh eco-village, featuring low-impact homes, forest gardens and a sheep barn. Dale’s website includes contact information for those who want to get their hands dirty and join his cause.

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January 18, 2012

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