Invite to tour Fleggburgh mud house. Is this the future?

PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 June 2012

Charlotte Eve & Kate Edwards outside their cob house made from
mud and straw.
Picture: James Bass

Charlotte Eve & Kate Edwards outside their cob house made from mud and straw. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

At the end of a bumpy track, sandwiched between a peaceful common and a picturesque broad, it is as remote a Broadland location as you can imagine.

But thanks to the power of the internet, the home of Kate Edwards and Charlotte Eve has become the base for a business attracting worldwide attention - cob building.

Using nothing more than a mix of sandy subsoil and clay dug from their garden in Fleggburgh, near Great Yarmouth, the couple have - using their own hands - built an extension doubling the size and value of their home.

And after finishing the work over a five-year period, squeezing it in between their increasingly hectic schedule of courses teaching the ancient building skill, they are preparing for an opening evening tomorrow to show off their passion for eco-friendly building.

Visitors are invited to tour White Cottage and learn about mud building from 6.30pm as part of a Love Architecture Festival organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Ms Edwards, 43, who gave up her job as an arts psychotherapist to become a cob builder and teacher, said: “It is astonishing how it has taken off since I started doing courses seven years ago.

“We are doing 30 courses this year, ranging from one-day courses on building a pizza oven, to four-day courses enabling people to build a garden studio or their own home.”

They have entertained students from Canada and Japan and on Saturday a family is arriving from Saudi Arabia.

She said: “The self-build market is growing massively; historically most people built their own homes but the skills were forgotten over time. Using cob is much simpler than conventional building and you are using free material. A big virtue is you don’t need central heating as the walls absorb the sun’s heat so well.”

To book a tour ring 01493-369952. Visit

More pictures at


  • I'm not much surprised at the vehicle access daisy roots, anything for cars goes. The damp problems can be overcome with membranes and old fashioned chalk and flint foundations, you can see that the roof overhangs far wider than on a ghuttered house, ususally you have french drains at ground level corresponding with the downfall of water, taking the water away, either into a tank to be used for the washingmachine, and, if filtered, for washing and showering. Having lots of air circulating within these walls is important, ususally they have a hazel and waddle inside wall and outside wall with plenty of air inbetween. A strawbale house is slightly different. I shan't go and see it unless I'm over there anyway, seen many of these in Friesland.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Another example of using local materials to come up with a highly insulated and cheap property. Straw bale housing and cob built housing is not used often enough. Mortgage companies have to realise that bricks and mortar are high energy intensive building methods and that their policies are producing a lot of extra unecessarry CO2.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

  • I have been watching this over the building time-fascinating project. There was a cart shed near by made of clay lump and when I was a child many of our outbuildings were clay lump and perhaps so were some of the nearby cottages which have had the character modernised out of them. This is a gem of a location for landscape historical and environmental reasons, much treasured, anyone going to look please respect it. I am rather surprised that a business enterprise with vehicle access has been permitted at such a sensitive site-perhaps the numbers are small.

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

  • One is rather worried Ingo that this is an example of someone moving in to one of the most secret and lovely places in the area and exploiting it. I do hope they do not change the character of what is there anymore than their neighbours have done already. It is a snapshot of commonside cottager life. And I hope they have got around the damp problems that used to beset old clay cottages which had pammets on beaten earth for floors or they will be doing courses in old Norfolk rheumatism charms.

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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