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Market Drayton organic farm's new bunkhouse set to open

By Rob Smith | Market Drayton | News | Published:

A bunkhouse with a difference will be officially opened at an organic farm in Shropshire this weekend.

It took 50 volunteers more than 1,000 hours to build the new bunkhouse at Fordhall Farm, outside Market Drayton, from just five simple materials: straw, wood, sheep’s wool, car tyres, clay and lime.

The bunkhouse will provide a roomy and modern space for youth groups and educational opportunities, and even weddings for nature-loving couples.

The structure was completed this summer but it will be officially opened on Saturday, October 12, by architectural designer and television presenter Charlie Luxton.

The exterior

Charlotte Hollins manages the farm alongside her brother Ben. She said: “The bunkhouse is a superb addition to Fordhall Farm, and it completely fits in with our totally organic ethos.

“So many of the materials used for the building would have ended up as waste or landfill, but now they are given a long-lasting purpose. Plus the others, such as the straw and lime have resulted in us storing and locking carbon into the building, thereby helping to drastically reduce our carbon footprint.

"As Fordhall Farm continues to diversify, the bunkhouse offers the perfect platforms for things like green weddings, wellbeing retreats, immersive organic experiences as well as being a base for the community groups who are hosted at the farm.

“There are two groups that are permanently based at the farm, the youth project and the care farm.

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“The youth project is a scheme which gives young people who are struggling within a mainstream school setting to learn more hands-on practical skills, such as working with wood and helping with the day-to-day maintenance on the farm.

Communal areas in the bunkhouse

“The care farm is a group supporting adults with learning difficulties. They get involved in all aspects of our community garden such as growing and harvesting food for the on-site café, composting and even growing some cut flowers.

“The portacabins that had accommodated these groups for many years were draughty, cold and cramped. The bunkhouse was built to provide a more spacious and suitable accommodation for these groups, as well as our residential volunteers, whilst also giving them room to grow in the future.”

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The structure contains 758 naturally-insulating straw bales in the walls, 138 recycled tyres in the foundations, 13 solar panels on the roof, 20,000 cedar shingles to cover the roof and 26 larch trees which would otherwise have been wasted from the timber industry.

The Bunkhouse was built thanks in part to a successful crowdfunding campaign which raised £56,500 towards the construction and a further £450,000 from grant-giving trusts and other funding organisations, including Power to Change, the National Lottery’s Our Bright Future fund, and the Jean Jackson Charitable Trust.

A bedroom in the bunkhouse
Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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