Having upgraded the beds and sofas, our next priority was to replace the boilers in the cottages and our Farmhouse, which were all two decades old. Conscious of global warming, we wanted to use this as an opportunity to use an alternative energy source. We engaged a market leader to build us a Ground Source Heat Pump system. Trenches were dug in the field in front of Rigg Barn, to a depth of 1m, and the pipes coiling in these warm up the water inside them and use a heat exchanger to warm up the water further still, like a reverse refrigerator. Cold water is sent back to the field to warm up.
The temperatures achieved in this way lend themselves to a gentle constant heat which lends itself to large radiators or underfloor heating. As the central heating pipework was narrow and worn this needed replacing. Rather than digging out the cottage floors for traditional buried underfloor piping, or increasing the floor height with overlay boards, we engaged a company called JK Floorheating to drill channels in the screed floor for heating pipes; a relatively new system for the UK but, we think, very effective.
Delivering the ground source heat pipes from the field to the cottages was another challenge. We had always planned to give each cottage an outdoor space of its own to take advantage of the morning sun; when it shines, it creates a lovely sun-trap around the entrances to the three white cottages. Discovering that the narrow path wouldn’t comfortably accommodate the ground source heat pipes without digging out the lower end of the rockery gardens led us to bring forward this work. The landscaping isn’t finished yet, so watch this space for photographs to come!
We have many plans for the future of Fornside Farm, making it even more eco-friendly and aiming towards a sustainable lifestyle. We are looking into generating our own electricity and it won’t be too long before we are growing many more of our own fruit and vegetables as well as rearing meat, wool and honey.