Drovers' Bough

Akin Studio, Herefordshire, 2021


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All photographs David Grandorge     Download Original

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A new building on a 27-acre farm in South-West Herefordshire.

The site is located up an old drovers’ track surrounded by overgrown hedgerows and trees. In order to preserve access along the track, the building is designed to be raised off the ground while enabling views out to the landscape beyond. The proportion and massing are dictated by the width of the track and the height of the existing trees. The trees also play a critical role in concealing the building, which was a prerequisite for obtaining planning.

A timber panel construction is raised on oak legs to have a minimum 2m headroom below. It squeezes between the trees with branches touching the building walls, making it feel like it has grown in tandem with its surroundings. Steel feet connect the oak legs below ground to screw pile foundations, allowing the building to sit enchantingly close to the trees without the need for concrete foundations. A pitched roof with corrugated steel resembles the local agricultural vernacular.

The narrow building is accessed via an elongated staircase, prompting an unhurried approach. On entering, you have compact spaces, efficiently arranged in less than half the plan with a galley kitchen, bathroom and mezzanine sleeping area above. This gives way to a double-height living area with a large opening looking south towards the landscape beyond.

Two large folding windows facing east and west create framed ‘painting-like’ views, allowing inhabitants to effortlessly touch trees. Smaller proportioned windows are placed within the cooking, washing and sleeping areas to provide intimate framed views and ventilation.

Locally sourced green oak columns, rough sawn larch cladding, oak windows, reclaimed floorboards and reclaimed insulation form the main build. The building is connected to the farm's 20 solar panels, providing the electricity, with a spring providing water.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Feb 2017
  • Completed: Jul 2021
  • Floor area: 32m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £70,200
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Feb 2017
  • Procurement: Self-build
  • Address: Gwyrlodydd , Newton St Margarets, Herefordshire, HR2 0QT, United Kingdom


Timber panels

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