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The Cottage - Birch Cottage Off Grid Self Catering

Birch Cottage

Environmentally friendly, off grid accommodation

Birch cottage – low impact living

Birch Cottage sits at the centre of Lackan Cottage Farm, the home of Steve, Claire and Lyra Golemboski-Byrne and a six and a half acre organic smallholding in the heart of the South Down countryside. Here we grow our own vegetables, fruit and herbs, keep chickens and ducks for eggs, generate all our own electricity, and grow wood fuel for heating. and cooking. Our wish is to share the experience of that lifestyle with as many people as possible, and Birch cottage self catering is an opportunity to do just that.

Here at the farm our ethos is one of living lightly on the land, and taking responsibility for our energy, waste, water and fuel. A stay in Birch Cottage is a chance to unwind, sample that lifestyle, and so we ask that guests respect the ethos of the project during their stay here.

We welcome visitors from across the world to help us and learn about off grid living, and we also run courses that include woodturning, basket making, spoon carving and permaculture. The land includes several acres of birch woodland, an orchard and vegetable gardens. Guests are welcome to enjoy the woodland, visit the gardens and we offer a range of seasonal produce that is always guaranteed to be fresh.

What we offer

 Sleeps 2 adults– 1 super-king or 2 singles – bedding & towels included
 Underfloor heating
 Off grid – powered by solar and wind
 Eco friendly
 Close to forest parks, Mournes and the sea
 Welcome pack of tea, coffee, sugar, fresh eggs and seasonal veg

 Woodburning stove – sufficient firewood provided for your stay.
 Wifi on request
 Private woodland
 Fresh organic produce available to purchase
 Secure bike store, discounted bike hire
 Drying room, washing machine, dryer

House rules
Smoking – Smoking is not permitted on the premises.
Pets – We regret that we cannot accommodate pets at this time.
Children – Birch Cottage is suitable accommodation for 2 adults only. We cannot accommodate children.

Accessibility
Off road parking is available immediately adjacent to the cottage. Birch cottage is originally an old building of limited size and is therefore not suitable for wheelchair users. Trained assistance dogs are welcome, but please notify us at the time of booking.

Charges

Standard charges

From £55 per night, plus a one off £15 cleaning fee per booking.
10% discount for 5+ nights.

Book now using AirBnB

Additional extras

Firewood
Sufficient firewood, kindling, and firelighters are provided for the duration of your stay. Should you wish to purchase additional firewood, it is available at the rate of £5 per basket. Kindling is available for £1 per bundle.

Fruit, vegetables and eggs
Selected seasonal produce is available, and will be listed daily at the main house. Prices subject to availability.

Refundable housekeeping bond
A refundable good housekeeping bond of £75 is also payable at the time of booking, which will be refunded within 7 days of the end of your stay, if the cottage is left clean and tidy. An inventory is provided for the cottage.

Deposit and balance payments
A minimum of 25% of the total amount due can be paid to secure your booking, with the balance due no later than 28 days prior to the commencement of your stay. Payments should be made online using a credit or debit card.

Cancellations In the event that you have to cancel your booking more than 28 days before commencement, we will refund 50% of your deposit. No refunds will be given for cancellations within 28 days or less of the commencement of your booking.
For full details of our terms and conditions please click here

Staying in Birch Cottage

Here at Lackan Cottage Farm our ethos is one of living lightly on the land, making our own power, using a sustainable source of wood fuel for heating, minimising waste, and growing much of our own food. A stay in Birch Cottage is a chance to unwind, sample that lifestyle, and so we ask that guests respect the ethos of the project during their stay here.

Off Grid – Here at Lackan Cottage Farm we generate all our own electricity using solar and wind power. It is then stored in large batteries which power the cottages using regular 240v AC that you would find in a ‘normal’ home. We do have regular electrical appliances here, but we do ask visitors to bear in mind that available power is dictated to some extent by the weather when using appliances. The cottage guide gives an indication of how much power various things use.

Carbon neutral heating and hot water – Underfloor heating and hot water in Birch cottage comes from solar thermal panels on the roof, and the woodburner in the living room. For much of the year the solar panels are sufficient to provide ample hot water and heating, but it will be necessary to light the woodburner for a period each day from September – May, and given our climate, it is likely that you’ll want to light it at other times.

Firewood – We provide sufficient firelighters, kindling and firewood to run the fire each day during your stay, which will ensure that you always have enough hot water and heating. We’ve worked this out by staying in the cottage ourselves and using the fire more than would be necessary. Should you use up the supply provided, additional supplies are available for a small charge. We ask that guests do not cut firewood from the woodlands.

Laundry – You are welcome to change your bedding and towels during the week. Simply let us know and we’ll provide fresh bedding and/or towels, and launder the old ones for you. A washing machine is available for your personal laundry in the utility room at the far end of the cottage. A covered washing line is also available, and if the weather is dry we would ask that you use the line rather than the tumble dryer, also available in the utility room.

Wet and dirty clothing – Please hang wet and dirty clothes and boots in the covered yard at the far end of the cottage, rather than in the cottage itself. You can also leave bicycles here.

There’s no TV – Birch Cottage is a place to unwind. We have a great supply of interesting reading material, a clockwork radio, and a selection of board and card games. If you are desperate for a connection to the outside world, we can provide wifi.

Wifi – We understand that many visitors to Birch Cottage come because they want to unplug for a few days. Hence wifi is off by default, but we can enable it on request.

History of Birch Cottage

The cottage was originally built in the early 1800’s, and we know little of it’s early life – only that in the 1950’s it was significantly repaired, and that a brother and his family lived in it for a number of years – several children were raised in it. Facilities were basic – a range cooker and no bathroom or inside running water. Needless to say we have improved things significantly.

In updating the cottage we have used local, natural materials where possible, and avoided any that use potentially harmful chemicals. The cottage is heavily insulated with woodfibre and sheep’s wool and uses an intelligent recycled paper climate control membrane, and lime plaster to maintain a healthy internal environment. Element such as the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom cupboards are hand made from local timbers, and treated with non-toxic, food safe oils.

The cottage is powered entirely from our own solar pv and wind turbine installation, and we are entirely off grid for electricity, so ask guests to respect this in their usage.  Hot water and heating are provided by solar thermal panels, and a small woodburner, that also has a hotplate for a kettle or slow cooker.  No other boiler is needed – the cottage is carbon neutral in use.

Opposite the cottage you will find our own birch woodland, in which you are welcome to walk and relax. You’ll find the horses grazing in the field outside, and they are always pleased to say hello to visitors. The vegetable garden is open to visitors, and we make a selection of seasonal fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat available to guests.

Birch Cottage

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