This quotation from Roger Deakin’s last book (or rather the book assembled following his death from his unpublished writing) ‘Notes from Walnut Tree Farm’ raises a thought provoking point regarding the building materials we currently favour and the contrast between buildings ‘seeming’ to be vernacular and ‘truly’ being vernacular.
If only all the new houses in our villages were being built of timber and cob, locally grown in working woods, and the cob dug to form new ponds, which would soon fill with water and life. Think of the dragonflies and newts, the frogs and toads. And think of the beauty of the houses, and how naturally they would fit into the village landscape. The materials are the important thing. There is no reason at all why the designs of these houses should not be far more modern and innovative and original. The problem is that the planners have focused their attention on design, instead of on materials, and have missed the point about the truly vernacular.
The happy loop between buildings leading to life filled ponds and locally managed woodland also paints an attractive picture of a simple, happy, sustainable life now mostly lost.