New b&b & staff accomodation @ ecodysgu

EcoDysgu are a  holistic education centre set in 42 acres of beautiful countryside near Tondu, Bridgend. They deliver a model of education they call ‘Learning to Heal – Healing to Learn’ aimed to help people increase self-confidence, respect and well being through arts & crafts activities in their 15 acre woodland and surroundings, in combination with on-site alternative healing therapies. The results ecodysgu have achieved with ‘disaffected’ groups has been called profound and been recognised by police, schools, youth services, prison & probation services, as well as parents.

In may 2009 EcoDysgu won the Wales Award from The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health and HRH The Prince of Wales & HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visited to see for themselves.

The project is to create 8 B&B letting rooms [to supplement an existing 12 bed bunkhouse] and provide on-site living facilities for two full time staff.

The Tondu House Farm site has been occupied for several centuries and has a fascinating history… It’s noted [ G.J.Rees - 'Tondu House'] there was a ‘dwelling of some importance’ on the site in 1767 belonging to the sheriff of Glamorgan, but no details remain of this early property. The site was acquired by the Brogden  family [iron masters] in 1854 and the original property was replaced with a large Victorian country house and formal landscaped gardens.

Victorian layout with proposed new buildings overlaid

The house was taken over by the Boyd-Harvey family [coal & iron masters] at the end of the 19thC and from reports the house & family enjoyed a happy existence within the Tondu community.

pics from G.J.Rees book ‘Tondu House’ [ISBN 0 9530941 0 3]

During the early 20thC the house lost the stewardship of the Boyd-Harvey family and was occupied by successive works managers up until WW II. During the early war the house was used breifly by an order of nuns protecting evacuee children from Kent, but then in late 1940 the property was chosen by the MoD as the top secret location for their PRD [Pyrotechnic Research Department] and it remained so until 1957. The house then reverted to the leaseholder [the NCB]. It was used for a couple of years to accomodate  refugee Hungarian coal miners fleeing the revolution in their own country, but as they assimilated into the local community the house became redundant and all activity at Tondu House Farm ceased except for a longstanding vet facility for colliery horses in a main outbuilding [the 'pit pony hospital' building still stands to the north west]. The disused house deteriorated, became unsafe and was demolished in 1963. Full floor plans of the property were prepared by the NCB before it’s demolition. All that now remains visible above ground is a small semi-derelict cottage and attached outbuildings.

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fly-by of existing

Construction is to be super-insulated and use environmentally benign materials [local timber, stone, lime, cellulose, sheep wool  insulation, salvaged and recyclable materials] Renewable energy heating & water  [solar thermal & air source heat pumps / pv].Due to the ‘brownfield’ and archaeological nature of the site, proposed buildings are to be built as suspended structures using piled foundations [probably helical screws to reduce excavation & displacement].

types of materials & finishes I’m considering

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fly-by of proposed

I’m very excited by this project; a needed building in a wonderful setting for a lovely bunch of people. Years of research and beliefs in sustainable building materials and techniques could come together in this building

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3 Responses to “New b&b & staff accomodation @ ecodysgu”

  1. lesley dedman says:

    I am interested that you may uncover some of the original building; I am a Boyd-Harvey great granddaughter, so am very interested. Would love an update if possible. Wishing you well, Lesley

  2. Neil Spacey says:

    Hi Lesley,
    Will keep you informed. What do you know about the site, have you read GJ Rees’s book?
    Fascinating place, so much history, loved learning the ‘back story’ and looking forward to the site forensics.
    Thanks for getting in touch.

  3. Jackie Huxter says:

    I was interested in your project as I am descended from people who lived in the Home Farm Building at Tondu. My Great-grandfather and his brother were Coachmen/Chaffeurs for the Boyd-Harveys and my Grandmother and all her siblings were born at Home Farm. I have heard some great below stairs stories of those times – better than Downton Abbey. I am rather New Age myself and can’t think of a better use of the site. Good Luck with your Planning Application, I have a Family Contact who may be able to assist if you run into problems.

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