Search

‘It’s been a real journey’ - Couple build off-grid eco-cabin in Norfolk countryside

PUBLISHED: 12:30 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:35 08 July 2020

Helen and Pete McGrath-Doherty with TV’s Sarah Moore. Credit: Matt Tiller

Helen and Pete McGrath-Doherty with TV’s Sarah Moore. Credit: Matt Tiller

Archant

A Norfolk couple have used a spark of inspiration and a great deal of elbow grease to build an off-grid eco-cabin in a six-acre wildflower meadow.

Albion Nights, in the Waveney Valley on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, provides a secluded eco-retreat set in 6 acres of wildflower meadow. Picture: Helen McGrathAlbion Nights, in the Waveney Valley on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, provides a secluded eco-retreat set in 6 acres of wildflower meadow. Picture: Helen McGrath

Albion Nights is preparing to open for business in Woodton, between Norwich and Bungay, once the government gives the green light for holiday bookings.

Helen McGrath-Doherty said she had been building the cabin in her head for some time.

She said: “I’ve always loved the idea of reusing and recycling materials as I think that humans tend to throw away so much stuff that could be given a new lease of life. My husband Pete works in the construction trade, so we combined my ideas with his practical skills and set to work.”

However, shortly after the project began, Pete found out that he was being made redundant. Although this allowed him more time to work on the cabin, it affected the couple’s ability to provide for themselves and their two children.

Albion Nights,was built by Helen McGrath-Doherty and her husband, Pete. Picture: Helen McGrathAlbion Nights,was built by Helen McGrath-Doherty and her husband, Pete. Picture: Helen McGrath

However, Helen had the idea of running a Crowdfunding campaign and successfully raised several thousand pounds towards completing the project.

MORE: ‘I’m really cautious’ - Japanese restaurant owner says he is in no rush to reopen

They were then given the chance to feature on a new TV series called Cash in the Spare Room, hosted by Sarah Moore.

Helen said Sarah was ‘a revelation’.

The project was put together with the help of BBC presenter, Sarah Moore. Picture: Helen McGrathThe project was put together with the help of BBC presenter, Sarah Moore. Picture: Helen McGrath

You may also want to watch:

“She really instilled a new lease of life in the project, and came up with a fantastic idea for an outdoor bathtub on the veranda,” she said.

“The team from Cash in the Spare Room then built the bath for us, while we carried on working on the interior.”

Almost all of the materials used are either reclaimed or recycled, many being left over from a barn conversion Helen and Pete previously undertook.

The internal cladding uses a mixture of corrugated tin, and hundreds of wood panels that were removed from dozens of pallets and individually sanded.

The cabin’s electricity is provided by a 12-volt solar battery, with a wood-burning stove providing the heat.

MORE: Pub group upbeat as it emerges from ‘horrendous’ lockdown period

The stove has a back burner, which provides hot water for the shower and outdoor bath.

“It’s been a real journey,” said Helen.

“With all kinds of challenges along the way, but looking at the finished product, we really couldn’t be happier.”

Visit their website for more information.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Beccles and Bungay Journal. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Beccles and Bungay Journal