Buying local brings us local benefits

Once again we’re seeing the value of buying local. Ian is working on the floor for the new eco lodge. The first step was to get rid of the old floor and non-structural block walls. We were going to break up the concrete and re-use it in gabions to build a bank and reinforce the front of the building (waste not want not!). But Martin Bragg, our local (and reliable … and well-priced…) digger driver had a better idea – scrape up a temporary bund, build the bank with the recycled concrete, then cover over with earth. Thanks Martin, that saved a few pounds on difficult-to-fill wire gabions, gave us the structure we needed, and created a much better feature. Digger reusing construction waste to create a bund outside Balebarn ecolodge

Next task was to source the aggregate for the floor. The first lot came from Jewsons in Okehampton (11 miles), but it arrived in a huge delivery truck that buckled the edge of the concrete drive and barely manoeuvred through the gate. So when we realised a local builders merchant, AMP building supplies, was based at Winkleigh’s old WWII airfield, that seemed much more sensible. Phil turned up in a much smaller vehicle, and instead of having to set up a business account, with credit references etc, he just said ‘I’ll leave the tab open if you’ll be wanting some more’.

And once that was done, we needed some custom-made steel ‘shoes’ to keep the existing wooden posts inside the building from penetrating the damp course (see picture). Sounds complicated. But luckily, Chris Hodgson’s engineering workshop in nearby Hollocombe was more than willing to help, even tidying up Ian’s sketched drawings before they went for fabrication.

It’s surprising what’s available on your doorstep when you look! It’s good for us, and it’s good for the local economy too – these are the people we meet ‘down the pub’ and in the village, and that make Winkleigh a thriving community.