The walls will be about as local as any of the house – even more than the frame, as they’ll be made of straw bales, a by-product of the farms annual wheat harvest. The farm grows wheat as part of an arable rotation, with peas and oil-seed rape (canola).
After harvest, some of the straw is chopped an ploughed into the soil prior to the sowing of the next crop, to maintain the organic matter of the soil. Some, however is baled, for the farm-house’s straw burner (for hot water and heating) and for other local farmers to use as bedding for animals in the winter. Alongside this, extra has been baled so that it can be used to form the walls of the new house.
In 2012, we went on a three day straw-bale building course, run by Barbara Jones, of Straw Works. Barbara taught us the basics of how to build with straw bales. This method is now well tried and tested, mostly due to Barbara’s efforts. Barbara’s book – ‘Building with Straw Bales’ an essential reference.