Journal Entry: Bringing Nature’s Beauty into Our Home | Written by Andrea Meanwell
Over the past year, we have been actively refurbishing our farmhouse. With a unique past, it has undergone four distinct stages of development, including its original 16th-century structure, an 18th-century coaching inn, a 19th-century court room and taproom bar, and the use of Roman fort stones in its construction.
In an effort to promote sustainability, we have made an attempt to acquire materials and hire builders from nearby sources. The oak used in this project was obtained from our own woodlands and was milled in the Westmorland Dales. The lime plasterers reside about three miles away and are among our closest neighbors. Additionally, one of our neighbors is currently working as a painter and another as a waller on this project.
Our home now has central heating thanks to an air-source heat pump that also powers the underfloor heating. Interestingly, the Roman fort located behind our house utilized a hypocaust system with an underground furnace for heating. When it came to choosing flooring for the entire house, we ultimately decided on traditional slate.
On a day with rain and strong winds, I traveled to Kirkby Moor to have a conversation with Burlington Stone regarding obtaining slate. For almost two centuries, this business has been supplying slate from the local area for use in roofs, walls, and floors. The aesthetics of the flooring are not my main concern – my goal is to find some slate from Brandy Crag. This particular type of slate is a metamorphic volcanic rock from the Ordovician era (approximately 490-440 million years ago), but what makes it special to my family is the location of the quarry.
My spouse has ascended the Old Man of Coniston, the source of slate, over 1,000 times. This mountain holds a special place in his heart and is filled with tunnels and quarries. On chilly days, some of these tunnels release warm air as you pass by. We desired to incorporate a piece of the Old Man into our home.
We choose polished slate and load it onto a farm trailer for transportation back home. As we make our way over Kirkby Moor, the Old Man is covered in fog, making it difficult to appreciate the scenery. Instead, we focus on navigating through the heavy rain and avoiding any flooding on the road.