The Window replacement and water borehole were put in during 2009, along with kitchen and shower instillation, soon after it was sold by the water company. The filter house has been used as a holiday home since then. I acquired it in 2020 and will be using the building as my own holiday home and slowly upgrading the utilities and internal fittings for more environmental long term use.
Sadly many trees on site were vandalised between March and May 2020 by persons unknown (not NT, Electric provider or local farmer). The rational is beyond me. I have now cut them down and will be replacing them with many more native species taking advice from NT tree specialists over next few years.
The 'filter pit' was full of debris from the building decommission. This was cleared summer 2020. I now have the go ahead from Environment Agency to replace septic Tank for a modern waste treatment plant and rainwater collection system to be located in this pit during summer 2023.
When the building was decommissioned much of the concrete rubble was simply pushed outside and down the bank, or into the 'filter pit'. This has been dug up and reused to build a retaining wall along the front bank. It now needs time to reseed the grass.
I had envisaged insulating and fitting out the internal space significantly in the initial years. This is not now likely given planning reluctance so will aim for a slow upgrading internally when convenient. Initially this involves creating comfortable and improved sleeping space which I have achieved in the short term by storing two caravans here.
The deeds hold an obligation to keep the 1000 meter long road up to the Filter House in good repair. During 2020 significant sums were spent replacing all of the blocked culverts and fixing the worst of the road damage. This Culvert repair above, just outside the front gates by the footpath turnoff is my favourite.
The fabric of the building needs constant maintenance in such a harsh location. Since purchase we have replaced both the front door, the barn doors and the steel lintels above these. The eves facia will need maintenance or replacing soon and the windows need constant work.
Over years the rear of the property suffered from slow subsidence of the bank above. This created potential damp issues. That was resolved summer 2022 with the insertion of a soakaway drain along the rear of the building in line with the new future proofing foul drainage system, that will link to replacement treatment plant.
Following clean up of rear and instillation of new drainage, the new bank was quite steep and prone to collapse in wet weather. I am now in the process of using much of the remaining walling stone to build up a retaining wall and keep things together.
Once the dead trees were cut down, and the earth removed from the rear of the building was piled up to leave a platform in place of the old trees, I then planted 30 Silver Birch and 25 Rowen tree saplings, plus some Hawthorne and Blackthorne, some Hazel and Crab Apple trees for the future of the site.
It took 16 months to secure permission from the Environment Agency to put in a new foul waste system that cleaned the water in an ecologically sound manner. It was no easy task to then get the new double tanks up the mountain and into the existing concrete water tank. This was the start of finally making that 4 meter deep concrete hazard safe by filling it in with stone.
Whilst The Filter House has had a borehole water supply since 2009, it has on occasion malfunctioned due to pump or electric issues. As I had the space in the existing concrete tank we also put in a 10,000 litre rain water tank, separated from the foul by a sealed and water tight membrane wall. Both systems utilised the historic pipes for overflow to the beck.
Once the new drainage was in place and both waste and rain water tanks connected, the concrete tank was filled with stone. It needed a finish and whilst grass was considered I was advised that the earth would simply seep through the stone and it would be to dry. Gray slate was chosen and we are advised that after a year or so it will weather and look more natural !
This job never ends really. On each visit the constant wash of the run-off rain shows me again where I have not anticipated its determined demolition. This bit has now got a buried drain away to the beck so as not to wash the stone of the bridge. Each visit requires a check and clear of the culverts under the road up.