We wanted to undertake this work in a way which would:
  • be in keeping with our commitment to peace, simplicity and equality
  • reduce the impact on the environment to the lowest possible extent within the capabilities of current technology
  • be sympathetic to the building and to the beautiful location
  • be fit for purpose (including the ability to cater for disabled people)
  • act as a stimulus for change through education and example

The long term aim was to help to meet our commitments to reducing energy use and carbon emissions, thereby reducing damage to the environment.

The short term aim was to re-establish Worfolk as a place of spiritual retreat, with access to the wonderful resources of the National Park, as soon as possible.

By providing a beacon of sustainability we want to enhance knowledge and awareness of the link between human activity and the quality of the environment.  We expect that users and others will be inspired to take further steps to reduce their ‘carbon’ footprint’ and to live with greater sensitivity to the natural world.

Pickering and Hull Area Meeting decided in March 2005 to commission the refurbishment of the property.  Part of the relevant Minute reads: “We think that special thought should be given to environmental issues… in order to create a lighter ‘footprint’”.

A Worfolk Development Group was set up, plans were developed and permissions sought and granted. 

A key issue was the appointment of an architect sympathetic to what was needed.  Andrew Yeats’ name came to us at precisely the right moment. 

In March 2007 the builders moved on site, under the guidance of David Lee, the project manager.

Dennis Parker, who for many years with his wife Angela has been at the heart of the care of Worfolk, ‘cut the first turf’ for the redevelopment.  This took place in the presence of about 15 Friends including members of the Development and Management Groups on the 16th March 2007.  Dennis was presented with the key to the ‘old coal house’ door; the coal house has now been demolished to make way for the extension which now houses the new disabled bedroom.  Dennis gave a brief history of the Quakers’ long involvement in the property before cutting the turf.


The redevelopment of Worfolk, with the exception of one or two teething problems, is now complete and the cottage was opened for bookings in July 2008.  The Recording Clerk of Britain Yearly Meeting, Gillian Ashmore carried out the official reopening on the 14th September 2008, at an Open Day attended by many local Friends and others who had had a part in the redevelopment.

Click here to view photos of the turf-cutting, development and re-opening.

We aim to create a beacon for a sustainable future through our development of Worfolk Cottage.  The building has been renovated to the highest standards of environmentally sound building practice using currently available technologies.

All materials were chosen on the basis of their lowest impact on the environment in their manufacture, their ability to be used in a pollution free way and where possible sourced as near to the site as possible (i.e. timber for window frames).

The main energy-saving and sustainable features are a very high standard of insulation for roof, walls and floors, a wind turbine, photovoltaic panels, solar water heating panels, a ground source heat pump and a sedum roof.

We hope that the of energy generated on site, together with the high standards of insulation, will mean that we not only produce all the energy we need to run Worfolk but will be a net exporter to the National Grid.

The following is a full list of the ecological features at Worfolk Cottage:
  • Fully insulated extra-wide (200mm) cavity wall construction to new wrap-around extension
  • Insulated dry-lining to the original stone walls
  • Provision of high levels of insulation under the new ground floor construction
  • Sheep’s wool loft insulation to the roof
  • Draught sealing and regulated ventilation to improve thermal performance
  • Low energy, argon filled double glazed energy efficient timber doors and windows
  • Energy efficient wood stove using CO2 neutral fuel
  • Provision of low energy lighting system throughout
  • Inclusion of draught lobby to new entrance for heat retention
  • Glazed conservatory entrance lobby/cloaks area as passive sunspace
  • Full access & provision made for disabled persons
  • Four low flush water saving toilets
  • Showers and wash basins with water saving aerated heads supplied by solar hot water
  • 2 kW of photovoltaic solar panels to produce renewable electricity from the sun
  • 2.5 kW wind turbine on 6m mast to produce renewable electricity from the wind
  • Evacuated tube solar hot water panels providing naturally heated hot water
  • 4 kW ground source heat pump feeding a radiant under floor heating system
  • Natural green sedum roof to the extension providing a bio diverse living roof
  • Extensive, high specification glazing and roof lights providing high levels of natural light to new layout
  • Rainwater harvesting, and rain water recycling for toilet flushing and non-potable uses
  • Provision for recycling facilities
  • Larger sun lounge dining area with access hatch to the kitchen and scope for community access
  • Recycled aggregate concrete blocks used in all new masonry walls
  • Solvent free emulsion paints used throughout
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