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Two hungry pigs support eco home plans

21 Feb 2024 3 minute read
Lacey the pig clearing bracken on the site of the new eco home. Credit: Liz Ostrowski

Nicholas Thomas Local Democracy Reporter

Two pigs named Cagney and Lacey are playing a key role in the development of a new eco-friendly home in one Welsh county.

The animals are eating their way through a field of bracken in Caerphilly county borough, which their owners want to turn into a “sustainable living” home and farm.

The pair of kunekune pigs, a breed said to have been originally kept by the Maori people of New Zealand, provided an eco-friendly solution to the land-clearing problems of the owners, who said it was normally “notoriously difficult to remove bracken without resorting to harmful chemicals”.


Elizabeth Ostrowski, of Ebbw View Eco Stays, has applied for planning permission to build and retain several buildings off Blackvein Mountain Road, south of Wattsville, as part of a sustainable One Planet Development.

If approved, the site will also include a vegetable growing area, an orchard, polytunnels and a mushroom cultivation site; as well as a wood store, workshop and meadow pond.

Plans also show three “Eco Pods” for glamping, which were approved by Caerphilly Council in 2021.

Redevelopment work for the current project began in September 2023 on the land, which was previously used for livestock grazing.

Now, Cagney and Lacey are hard at work preparing the ground for its future use.

Low impact

In planning documents, Ms Ostrowski and co-owner Jennifer Lyons say their plans for a “low impact” development will “create an exemplar of sustainable living for people to visit and learn from” on land they bought in 2019.

Ms Lyons has “decades of largely self-taught experience in off-grid living, permaculture techniques and building construction using reclaimed and sustainable materials”, according to the planning documents.

If planners approve their application, the pair will establish a smallholding in a nine-acre field, enabling them to “live sustainably” and manage a “small horticultural and egg-production business” alongside the Eco Pod campsite, which is under construction.

They plan to grow “much of our own food on site” and meet their energy needs using “micro-generation from renewable resources”, including wind and solar power.

The One Planet Development scheme in Wales promotes low-impact homes which have minimal carbon footprints and produce nearly no waste.

The application can be viewed on the Caerphilly County Borough Council website under reference 24/0097/RET.

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