Now that the main structure of the roof has been completed the insulation it needs has been going in.
We are using sheeps wool, it’s an effective, natural, sustainably produced insulating material which is produced in an environmentally freindly way. The recent development of its use in building is also starting to open up a new market for fleeces, hopefully over time this will offer a bit of much needed support for the sheep farmers in this country.
Wool used to be one of our most important industries, as I have said before it shaped landscapes and provided a huge economic boost for the country, hence the reason why the speaker in the House of Lords sits on a woolsack.
When you mention to people that we are using sheeps wool I think they expect us to be stuffing whole untreated fleeces in between the rafters, actually the wool has been treated and washed and comes in rolls of specified sizes, just like any other insulation.
Here you can see where it has been unrolled and put into place between the rafters. When the whole roof was done there was a distinct smell of sheep in the air, fortunately the membrane and plastering will keep this from being an issue when the building is finished.
Once all the insulation was in a second membrane was put into place. This regulates the flow of moisture out of the building through the roof thereby ensuring you don’t get condensation in the roof which would dampen the wool.
This second membrane is held in place with pine battoning, onto which the plasterboard ceiling will be attached.
I was really pleased to see some Black Down pine starting to go into the building. Matt and I felled it over the winter in Ridden Corner on the North West corner of Black Down, and we brought it back to Swan Barn Farm for milling a couple of weeks ago.
Over the last few years we have cleared quite a lot of pine off the hill as part of our programme of heathland restoration work. This pine has been sent away on lorries to destinations across the country to be used for all sorts of things from chip and block board to paper and also to be used in construction. Using it here a mile or so from where it grew makes a nice change, and brought home to me again how important I think it is to try and source the materials we use as locally as possible.
We have had quite a few visitors over the last couple of weeks, coming to see how the project is doing. Later this month we are hosting a Green Woodworking event here at Swan Barn Farm, it will be an oppotunity to see the building, as well as to meet some local craftsfolk and see a number green woodworking skills in action. Its on Saturday 30th July from 10.30 till 3. We will have some of our tractors and machinery on display for kids (big and small) to come and have a look around as well as a resident story teller. Unfortunately parking is very limited here so we will be asking people to park in the town centre and walk down to the farm. Hope you can make it.