Our Story So Far...
My journey began some 45 years ago, when I used to holiday in Wales as a boy with my parents. As I grew up I met my wife Trudy and we continued to visit and holiday here in Wales and the romance with the country continued. As our family grew to 4 children and 3 grandchildren the love of Wales continued; what was my journey has then become our journey.
Originally from Harlow in Essex I worked as a primary school site manager and Trudy worked for the NHS. Harlow only being 20 miles north of London has increased in traffic, noise, pollution and lack of parking. So during a break in 2017 at the George Barrow Hotel in Ponterwyd, we decided that it was time for a change in location, lifestyle and pace. It was time to follow our dream of moving to Wales to build our own house and start a new life. During this break we started to search for land to buy to begin our long journey. Whilst searching we came across an eco village, so we booked in for an open day and liked what we saw. It was a completely different lifestyle to where we had come from in Harlow. Here you lived, worked, and looked after the land you owned; it provided for your needs and lowered your carbon footprint, which made it very appealing to us.
Over the following 18 months we looked at locations all over Wales and eventually found a 32 acre plot of land that was perfect for our needs. We therefore took that first step and purchased the land, located in Cwmpengraig, Carmarthenshire, and our journey had moved from a dream to reality.
In 2020 we all packed up and moved into a nearby property in Carmarthenshire to begin our journey.
Our intentions going forward are to start an OPD (One Planet Development) –
“Affordable housing for various sizes of household;
Buildings that are at least Zero Carbon throughout their entire life-cycle;
An initial ecological footprint of 2.4 global hectares per person or less and clear potential to move towards 1.88 global hectare;
100% renewable energy;
Land-based enterprises to satisfy around 65% of the minimum needs of the occupants;
Rainwater harvesting, both for fresh water drinking and for other purposes;
Greywater and Blackwater ecological treatment with nutrient recovery;
Provision to protect against extreme weather events such as flooding or drought;
Low or zero carbon transport plan;
An increase in biodiversity caused by the planting of more native species;
Assessment of impact on the local community;
Encouragement of the use of Welsh language and culture.”
We are currently going through the process of applying for an OPD for residential planning permission so that we can live and work on the land we own. Our aim once we get this is to improve the ecology and environment of the land, and to keep and breed livestock, including chickens and honeybees.
Progress so Far….
We invited an ecologist to survey the land to highlight whether it was home to any protected animals, animal habitats, or plant life. The survey did not highlight anything of interest and the land was graded as low-grade farmland. From our perspective this was a positive outcome meaning we could now progress and improve the land. We also arranged for a drone land survey before any changes were made so that we can monitor our progress.
Since the surveys were completed we have installed 2 acres of post and rail fencing for our 2 ponies which we have now moved onsite, and have applied for a new hedgerow and the planting of 5 acres of mixed woodland. We are currently working with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) who are assisting us and providing advice on how to improve and maintain the land.