The Natural Building Centre

Y Ganolfan Adeiladu Naturiol.

Updates

Discover our news and developments and follow the progress of our ongoing project to restore the C16th house and grounds of Plas Tirion.

Book your place for our free CPD event

Learn about the latest sustainable, breathable insulation systems from Ty Mawr.

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The technical team from Ty Mawr Lime will be joining us at Glasdir for a CPD on their award winning LABC registered breathable, sustainable, insulation systems for roofs, walls and floors.  Please look at our training and events page for more details and how to book your free place.

Safeguarding Cwmorthin, an abandoned village near Blaenau.

A site visit in a beautiful and exposed setting.

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Tai Llyn is a terrace of  quarrymens cottages from the 1860s, slowly tumbling down.  The cottages were built to house workers for the Cwmorthin slate quarry, which is located to west of Tanygrisiau.  Quarrying started here in 181o and in 1860 it was connected to the Ffestiniog Railway. It was once home to around 200 people but was finally abandoned in the 1940’s.

A community group from Blaenau are applying for a Heritage Lottery grant to consolidate this unique site which includes two chapels, cottages and an older farmhouse.  The buildings are deteriorating fast and funding is needed to halt the decline before the historic village disappears forever.  Ned visited this week, catching the valley in the sunshine, to give advice about beginning a plan to manage the consolidation of the terrace.  Its a good walk if you would like to follow the work in progress.

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St Michaels Church, Betws y coed

A beautiful autumn day working at St Michaels and ten years since we carried out the external restoration of this C14th Church.

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This month we are repainting the interior of the Church, using white breathable Claypaint, to be ready for the candlelit carol service on 29th December.  Although some electric lighting was added several years ago the church is lit by candles during services.  It is a very peaceful and atmospheric Church, the oldest building in Betws y coed, and worth visiting to see the lifesized stone effigy of Gruffydd ap Dafydd Goch who died c 1365.

The weather we’ve been having

Some jobs get put off, but the roof on the cottage (which pre-dates the main house) is deteriorating yearly and may not last another winter.

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Its mid November and one of our last weeks of outside lime-work.  Pushing our luck a little, better to be cautious that risk losing all to frost, but the mild weather has meant we have managed to work later in the season than we would usually recommend.  Now its time to get on with all those inside plastering jobs and a roof here on the old C15th cottage at Plas Tirion that needs stripping before it falls, seen in the last photo.  The cottage has an oak cruck frame, soot blackened from its early days when it would  have had a central open fire with the smoke escaping through the thatched roof.  It has been dendro-dated to 1495 and although it was once the main house before the later one was built in 1568, it is referred to in letters from the beginning of the century as the old bakehouse.

One of Conwys iconic buildings, 11 Castle Street.

We have been up against the weather this month, completing external works to this very interesting house in Conwy before winter arrives.

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One of Conwys most important historic houses is in the very early stages of a complete restoration beginning with the outside, now looking greatly improved with a sympathetic combination of Ynys Mon tint lime-wash, painted woodwork in a similar shade and new lead-work.  We have worked continually to keep the site tidy and as dust free as possible for the shops and houses nearby – not easy when hacking off old render –  so we were very cheered to receive a phone call from a lady living near by thanking us on our care.  I have added a photo of the date stone – 1585, and images of sixteenth century oak posts from the interior. One showing the post with traces of lime-wash and next to it the wattle and daub in-fill, woven hazel with a rough straw/clay/mud plaster scratched up ready for a top coat.  The other post has been ‘improved’ at some point with some wood effect wallpaper!