Restoration with Eco-friendly Materials & Traditional Methods
The completion of the Manor House Stables in April 2008 marked the culmination of nearly 10 years of research and restoration. The result has is a unique restoration of a previously redundant Grade II Listed Stables into self-catering holiday accommodation and space for courses. Environmentally-friendly natural materials have been used throughout the restoration in a historically-sympathetic way. Subsequently, the planned tearooms and shop became part of our course area and we have now also introduced a small local history museum.
Restoration is a great example of sustainability – the importance of re-using an existing building is often overlooked. Using natural materials in restoration is important in that these materials not only contribute positively to the environment, but they also allow the building to ‘breathe’ (thus ensuring its continued survival) and can also be re-used or allowed to degrade when the building is at the end of its life – a truly sustainable life-cycle. In addition, natural products are not only beneficial for the building but also for the environment and for the health of people too.
Our aim was to restore our redundant 18th century stable block to give it new life. We wanted to retain its character in a simple traditional way and restore it using natural earth-friendly materials that would allow the building to ‘breathe’. We chose natural materials because they are good for old buildings, the environment and for the health of people. This holistic concept has been the basis for the decisions we have made from the beginning of the restoration and is now shaping all aspects of running the business – from the products we offer to the services we provide. We are committed to providing a good quality service whilst minimising the environmental impact of our activities in order to preserve the environment around us for future generations.
During the restoration of the Stables, natural sustainable materials/products were used and the sustainable principals of SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) were adhered to as closely as possible. A local firm of builders (Tasker Builders of Sleaford) with experience of historic conservation was employed to carry out the restoration. In the restoration both historic conservation and ecological principals were considered.
Products and services used during restoration
- Original features including doors, windows, timber beams, stable stalls and mangers were retained and repaired rather than replaced and the new extension was built using materials that complemented the age and original use of the Stables.
- Local builders were employed for the restoration of the building, local kitchen craftsmen were used to build the kitchens, and where possible, local products were purchased and local services were sought.
- Only materials with natural breathable and sustainable qualities were used in the restoration to allow the building to ‘breathe’.
- High levels of thermal insulation were achieved throughout the building but only natural chemical-free materials were used. Insulation included battens of cotton/ hemp and wood-fibre boards in the walls & ceilings and layers of re-cycled glass/limecrete (known as ‘glaster’) below the floors.
- Natural environmentally-friendly paints and wood stains were used throughout on doors, floors and window frames (which smelt of oranges during application!) and lime plaster, distemper and lime-wash were used in all the interior decoration.
- Natural materials/fibres have been used everywhere internally, including wood floors, wool or cotton rugs, cotton sheets and towels, organic wool mattresses, silk, cotton or linen curtains.
- Solar panels and a wood pellet boiler were installed which together fuel the upstairs cast iron radiators and the downstairs underfloor heating system as well as providing the hot water. Wood-burning (Clearview) stove were also installed in both accommodations.
- Green Electricity – All our electricity is from 100% renewable sources, i.e. from free-falling water, wind, biomass, solar and tides. Low energy light bulbs are used where possible, there are several ‘lighting zones’ in each room and the outside lights are on timer switches so they are only used when required.
- The dishwashers are triple A rated for efficiency and the washing machines are A++ rated (recommended by the Energy Savings Trust).
- Toiletries and household cleaners are provided for the guests – these include chemical-free plant-based soaps, shampoo & conditioners, face cleansers, bath products and low-impact cleaning products, dishwashing products and laundry liquid.
- Welcome Hampers – these include local (organic where possible) Lincolnshire produce. The vegetables and fruit are either from our own garden or purchased locally. Eggs, butter and Lincolnshire sausages are all produced locally, the bread we make is made from flour from local windmills. The fruit juice and wine are made by Lincolnshire producers. Honey and jam are made by local people and the plum bread and crisps are also from local suppliers.
- We are members of Select Lincolnshire (formerly Tastes of Lincolnshire) and promote the county’s rich agricultural heritage by using and encouraging the use of local produce and products. Lincolnshire food, drink, restaurants, tearooms and many other establishments are all promoted through our books and literature provided in the accommodation.
- We provide photo albums about the restoration, detailed information on where to obtain various materials and products and a comprehensive guide to what to see & do in Lincolnshire.
- Nature appreciation – Each accommodation has its own small garden fenced off with hazel hurdles which include bird-feeding tables and pots and troughs planted with vegetable/herbs available for use during guests’ stay. Binoculars and bird books are provided in the accommodations. We are also continually working on our own garden which extends to one acre around the Stables and which includes an organic vegetable garden, apple trees and a small native woodland – we are happy to show guests around and talk about what we’ve done.
- A Rainwater harvesting system was installed – the water collected is currently used to partially satisfy the requirements of our organic vegetable garden and raised beds.
- A purpose-built bat roosting box was incorporated into the roof void of the Stables.
- We provide composting buckets indoors and a compost bin outside (our own re-cycling bins are also available for guests to use). Oak water butts collect water from the roofs which guests can use to water their own gardens.
- Collection and drop-off services to the nearest railway are offered and information on local transport is provided.
Warm and romantic with a luxury hamper and other lovely touches. A wood-burning stove, wooden soaking tub and welcome hamper make the Bothy a special place for that perfect break away.
A lovely retreat with a wood-burning stove and lots of extras. The peaceful bedroom, special box bed and deep copper spa bath are places for relaxation – all perfect ingredients for a special break away.
Cottage craft and cookery courses. Learn skills, be inspired and meet new people. Courses range from bread making to beekeeping, cheese to chocolate making and crocheting to clay creations… and more!
What people say about us
...The Hayloft is luxurious and yet eco-friendly...We just love coming here year after year...
We loved the Bothy and all the delicious treats that were left by Sherry. Really good to see natural products being used throughout and showcasing local products.