Our Log Home

Brusher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
23
15
New Forest
Posted here on the basis that it might be of interest to some, here is our recently finished Log Cabin. Built from the start with energy independence and self sufficiency in mind, it incorporates solid fuel heating and cooking, a dedicated off-grid electricity supply, LED lighting throughout and as much insulation as I could cram in. Solar panels come next year hopefully :) We have a water source nearby, plenty of raised beds and keep sheep for our meat and wool. Several Bee Hives help pollinate our fruit tree's and supply us with honey. It's my hope that in the near future we will run self sufficiency courses here alongside our existing Forest School project, with the idea of sharing our enviroment with others who want to follow the same path.













 
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Dave Budd

Gold Trader
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Jan 8, 2006
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that's a lovely set up you have there :) I look forward to seeing more of it!

Did you build from scratch or is that a prefab structure? I may end up putting something similar together myself sometime, so it's always good to get tips from others who have already been there ;) The PV is coming soon,so what is your power supply currently?
 

Brusher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
23
15
New Forest
that's a lovely set up you have there :) I look forward to seeing more of it!

Did you build from scratch or is that a prefab structure? I may end up putting something similar together myself sometime, so it's always good to get tips from others who have already been there ;) The PV is coming soon,so what is your power supply currently?
Hi Dave, thank you for your kind words! All the logs came pre-sawn to length and had to be assembled into the structure you see now. It was the most cost effective option at the time, and other considerations (pregnant wife mainly!) precluded an extended built period. Planning of course played a big factor. Technically our cabin is a caravan! We are hooked up to the mains power for convenience, but have a Lister 8kva Diesel generator hard wired in with a change over switch so we can be fully off-grid at will. Solar panels will add another dimension to this and hopefully will allow us give SSE the finger once and for all...
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,885
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W.Sussex
Hi Dave, thank you for your kind words! All the logs came pre-sawn to length and had to be assembled into the structure you see now. It was the most cost effective option at the time, and other considerations (pregnant wife mainly!) precluded an extended built period. Planning of course played a big factor. Technically our cabin is a caravan! We are hooked up to the mains power for convenience, but have a Lister 8kva Diesel generator hard wired in with a change over switch so we can be fully off-grid at will. Solar panels will add another dimension to this and hopefully will allow us give SSE the finger once and for all...

I used to work for said company, keeping the lines clear of tree overgrowth and undergrowth. I’ll say not much about it here. If there are two companies I’d like out of my life, it’s them and BT.

Is it the width that allows it to be termed a caravan? My first thoughts on seeing it were, that would look very good with a hull on it.
 

Brusher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
23
15
New Forest
I used to work for said company, keeping the lines clear of tree overgrowth and undergrowth. I’ll say not much about it here. If there are two companies I’d like out of my life, it’s them and BT.

Is it the width that allows it to be termed a caravan? My first thoughts on seeing it were, that would look very good with a hull on it.
I'm currently in dispute with SSE concering their poles on my land! Not very good people to deal with... The max dimensions of a caravan in UK law is 135 sq metres and an internal ceiling height of 3.048 metres. That's our cabin. There are still loop holes in planning law that have to be exploited (especially in a national parks) if you want to get anywhere, or the Planners will just say NO first and ask you what the question was afterwards!
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
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W.Sussex
I'm currently in dispute with SSE concering their poles on my land! Not very good people to deal with...

I don’t know how long you’ve owned the land, but you should be paid a way leave for each pole. It’s only a small amount of money, and because it became such an admin nightmare, often a single sum of money was offered as a one off payment. If this is the case, then a previous landowner may have accepted the deal. I’ll tell you for nothing, the company won’t move the poles or underground the supply easily, but it is possible in certain (National Park) type areas that they might. Undergrounding is a nightmare, both in terms of land disturbance and tracing a fault if one occurs.

If it’s the poles in the background behind the dwelling, they’re LV 400v. Domestic supply converted to 240v, lowest of the low for maintenance etc because if a few people go off supply, no bother at all. If a village of 600+ go off, then that is a problem. And another thing, in case you have a pitchfork at the ready, the company have a right to inspect the network, so can wander on to your property at any time to inspect theirs. My job involved a lot of line surveys, and I know for a fact that squeezing though your garden hedge while I follow several miles of power line is not generally greeted well and requires a great deal of diplomacy. It’s not always easy to find the front gate of a property and knock on the door while entering it from the pasture at the back. ;)

Thing is, the National Grid had to grow in leaps and bounds from the 1930s into the 60s and 70s, people needed and wanted electricity. Hence, it was fairly easy to convince landowners to accept a bit of money to allow both themselves and others to benefit from it.
 

Brusher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
23
15
New Forest
I don’t know how long you’ve owned the land, but you should be paid a way leave for each pole. It’s only a small amount of money, and because it became such an admin nightmare, often a single sum of money was offered as a one off payment. If this is the case, then a previous landowner may have accepted the deal. I’ll tell you for nothing, the company won’t move the poles or underground the supply easily, but it is possible in certain (National Park) type areas that they might. Undergrounding is a nightmare, both in terms of land disturbance and tracing a fault if one occurs.

If it’s the poles in the background behind the dwelling, they’re LV 400v. Domestic supply converted to 240v, lowest of the low for maintenance etc because if a few people go off supply, no bother at all. If a village of 600+ go off, then that is a problem. And another thing, in case you have a pitchfork at the ready, the company have a right to inspect the network, so can wander on to your property at any time to inspect theirs. My job involved a lot of line surveys, and I know for a fact that squeezing though your garden hedge while I follow several miles of power line is not generally greeted well and requires a great deal of diplomacy. It’s not always easy to find the front gate of a property and knock on the door while entering it from the pasture at the back. ;)

Thing is, the National Grid had to grow in leaps and bounds from the 1930s into the 60s and 70s, people needed and wanted electricity. Hence, it was fairly easy to convince landowners to accept a bit of money to allow both themselves and others to benefit from it.
The last wayleave agreement lapsed in the 1930's. Basically it's case of a corparation siting their apparatus on my private property and dictating the terms at the same time. Their cheapest option is to make me a fair offer, going to the secretery of state for a compulsory wayleave is expensive! I've got some reasonable leverage so will see...
 
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SiWhite

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Apr 1, 2007
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Deepest North Hampshire
Looks like a lovely spot Brusher. I like the design of the raised beds - the wriggly tin looks really good!

Where in the New Forest are you? I’m a frequent visitor as my parents have a weekend house in Lymington....
 

Brusher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
23
15
New Forest
Looks like a lovely spot Brusher. I like the design of the raised beds - the wriggly tin looks really good!

Where in the New Forest are you? I’m a frequent visitor as my parents have a weekend house in Lymington....
We're in the Burley area. I've lived in the New forest all my life, so consider myself lucky :)
 

Mike313

Nomad
Apr 6, 2014
268
17
South East
You have done a great job there and, especially in the second photo, it really blends in well to its surroundings. Did you, by any chance, make any videos of the build? It would be great to see them eg. on YouTube.
Having just built 5 raised beds in my own garden - mine are narrower, longer and lower than yours - I'm intrigued to know why you chose to make yours square and relatively high. My guess was for disabled access for participants on your courses??

... The max dimensions of a caravan in UK law is 135 sq metres and an internal ceiling height of 3.048 metres. That's our cabin.

I know a caravan is regarded as a temporary structure and can be 'parked' on your own land for use relating to the use of the land but (I thought) you cannot dwell in it and it has to be movable?
And, going by the definition above, a bungalow of 100 sq metres and standard ceiling height falls within the dimensions of a caravan? I've probably completely misunderstood .. not the first time :)
 

Brusher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
23
15
New Forest
You have done a great job there and, especially in the second photo, it really blends in well to its surroundings. Did you, by any chance, make any videos of the build? It would be great to see them eg. on YouTube.
Having just built 5 raised beds in my own garden - mine are narrower, longer and lower than yours - I'm intrigued to know why you chose to make yours square and relatively high. My guess was for disabled access for participants on your courses??
I know a caravan is regarded as a temporary structure and can be 'parked' on your own land for use relating to the use of the land but (I thought) you cannot dwell in it and it has to be movable?
And, going by the definition above, a bungalow of 100 sq metres and standard ceiling height falls within the dimensions of a caravan? I've probably completely misunderstood .. not the first time :)

Cheers Mike!

Re: The Raised Beds: The dimensions of the beds were actually dictated by the materials. I used scavenged douglas fir boards that were all 5 foot long and tin sheets of varying lengths that I salvaged from the old cycle shed at out local YHA. Also, I had a large amount of top soil to "Lose"! Of course, if I were buying in brand new materials I would've designed them differently...

Re: Caravan. A caravan parked up on private land can only legally be occupied for 28 days out of the year. However, should an individual choose to ignore this restriction and manage to live 10 years without interference from the council, you can apply for a "certificate of lawfullness" and from then on live on their land unmolested by the authorities. This was my chosen path. Any structure has to meet the 6 point "Mobility Test" set by the planners. Ways that this test can be interpreted and worked around, is a whole discussion in it's own right....basically a bungalow would fail this test because it is a dwelling and not inherently mobile in nature.
 

Mike313

Nomad
Apr 6, 2014
268
17
South East
Well done you for managing to go 'undetected' for 10 years and get planning by default! Now forgive me, but I got the impression that your beautiful log cabin was recently built? Does it replace another structure, did you need planning for that and, given that you have circumvented the planning laws, how is it still a caravan? Sorry for all the questions. When I was younger I knew everything!
 

Brusher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
23
15
New Forest
Well done you for managing to go 'undetected' for 10 years and get planning by default! Now forgive me, but I got the impression that your beautiful log cabin was recently built? Does it replace another structure, did you need planning for that and, given that you have circumvented the planning laws, how is it still a caravan? Sorry for all the questions. When I was younger I knew everything!

I previously lived in a mobile home on the same site that I had modified somewhat with the addition of an brick/wood extension to house the bathroom. When I applied for my certificate I had the choice of either going for a small dwelling or replacing like with like (i.e another mobile home). I chose the latter due to larger allowable dimensions (135sqm vs 100sqm) and no building regs!
A small dwelling also would've required planning consent, the mobile home/caravan option, due to simply being a replacement, did not. Does that answer your question?
 
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Mike313

Nomad
Apr 6, 2014
268
17
South East
Thanks for explaining, sorry if my question sounded daft, so your new log cabin is mobile? How does that work? I hope you don't mind me asking, it's just all new to me.