Unusual farm diversification: hobbit holes for guests
One farm in mid-wales has come over all Tolkien with their new farm diversification project. Fans of The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings could soon be able to stay in accommodation fit for Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, but in mid-Wales rather than Middle Earth.
A planning application by the Powell family of Llwyn Gwilym Farm near Rhayader to build five “Underground Hobbit Holiday units, ” has been given the green light by Powys County Council planners. But the application has been scaled down from 11 units to five.
The hobbit homes will be cylindrical shaped and formed of recycled waste plastic, creating high-density polyethene walls and ceilings, covered with turf with timber doors and windows. The structures are self-supporting and will have earth above them with a grass surface. The designers of the project commented that the hobbit holes made an ideal tourism option for rural locations as they are “placed into the ground so the only part visible externally is the entrance door plus two windows.”
Due to the sloping nature of the site, a space will be excavated for the installation of the home and then the soil will be backfilled around and over the surface of the home so that when viewed from a distance the viewer “will only see three modest scale windows set within the grassy slope.”
A Tolkien farm diversification
“Whilst the proposal complements the existing successful agritourism development it is also part of farm diversification activities at Llwyngwilym Farm.”
In her report, senior planning officer Kate Bowen said: “The site is classified as grade four agricultural land and as such is not the best and most versatile land where loss is resisted. Therefore, the proposed loss of this land from agricultural use is not considered to conflict with Planning Policy Wales”
“The site is located within the catchment of the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The number of units has been reduced to 5 from 11, thereby resulting in a decrease in the volume of wastewater generated.
“The council’s ecologist has advised that in assessing the revised proposal against current Natural Resources Wales (NRW) guidance, it is considered that the proposed development is not likely to result in a significant effect on the designated features of the River Wye SAC in terms of phosphate inputs.”
Ms Bowen approved the application and gave it “conditional consent.”
Conditions the Powell’s will have to meet include that: 10 per cent of the car parking spaces will have electric vehicle charging points. And that the units will be used just for holiday accommodation only and not as a person’s main home. A sustainable drainage application (SuDS) will also need to be approved by Powys planners before building work can start.
Hobbits are fictional beings created by literary great JRR Tolkein and are the heroes of his books, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They are half the size of human beings.