Lost middle-class tribe's 'secret' eco-village in Wales proves that Eco Straw Bale homes embody the essence of living simply and sustainably.
The Preseli Mountains of West Wales: Brithdir Mawr, a community of roundhouse known as Tir Ysbrydol (Spirit Land).
Pioneering: Eco-dweller Emma Orbach is delighted planning has been approved
Who would have thought that a 'secret' eco-village could exist in the countryside of Wales, for years, without anyone knowing!? Well, it did and has! Unbeknown to anyone until recently, this village was undiscovered and is occupants lived their lives without any interference from the outside world.
That is the simplicity of this style of building and living: very minimal cost, using local, natural resources available, growing their own food, using only solar power and living off the land.
Discovered by a survey plane, happening on the area, and likely a very observant pilot, they were finally exposed. After close scrutiny by the planning department, it was realised that planning permission had never been applied for in the past. So, a long drawn out battle ensued and the residents were facing being evicted and having to bull doze their homes.
Thanks to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority's 'sustainability' policy, these roundhouses have, after a decade of battling with the authorities and red tape, been given the green light, so to speak. They no longer have to demolish their homes that they have been living in for over a decade.
This style of building, although very primitive, does certainly embody the essence of 'simple' living. So, it is possible, depending on how much you want to do it and what you are willing to give up in the form of 'creature comforts'. This group of people were living their dream of reducing their 'carbon footprint' on the earth and living as simply as possible. They built their own straw bale homes with living roofs and lived off the land. They likely would have remained 'secret', had the survey plane not happened upon them.
It begs the question how many other people my be living 'under the radar' so to speak, and out of the prying eyes of building officials. If there are other communities like this I say "Good on them" and just leave them alone. These people were not hurting anyone and by the looks of it, not dependent on society to sustain them. Maybe more of us could take a leaf from their book and try to live more simply?!