Oak Meadow

Oak Meadow is a low environmental impact development of 35 affordable homes in the rural setting of South Molton, Devon. The homes are orientated towards the south and southwest maximising passive solar gains for both buildings and gardens, and arranged in terraces to reduce surface heat loss. The inclusion of private, semi-private and public spaces helps to create a sense of place, security and community.

About this project

The project was planned to high design, health and environmental standards. Since its completion in 2004 it has been used as a benchmark for sustainable design at a national level. The occupants are the development’s greatest advocates – they have comfortable and healthy homes and very low fuel bills.

Use of Timber

Gale & Snowden Architects’ timber Twin Frame system has enabled super insulated airtight walls and roof panels which eliminate thermal bridging and use readily available, low embodied energy, local materials.

Creating a healthy building has been a key consideration of the design. This has been achieved by using non VOC materials and the use of PVC has been avoided through careful selection including timber cladding and timber windows. Dust mite habitats have been limited through hard floor surfaces such as timber and slate.

Energy saving

Another key element to the design is energy saving and an array of features have been specified. These include:

  • Super insulation
  • Air tightness
  • Natural daylight design for all habitable rooms
  • Natural ventilation with pre-heating from solar spaces
  • Inclusion of thermal mass to provide stable internal temperature fluctuations and help to reduce summertime overheating
  • Cool larders to reduce fridge use
  • Low energy lighting throughout
  • Water efficiency – low water use appliances; pressure reduction gauges, rain water collection system to WCs

These energy efficiency measures have resulted in the homes being very comfortable to live in with little variation in internal temperature and very low fuel bills ensuring that all tenants can achieve affordable warmth.

The attention to detail didn’t stop at the interior. The low maintenance external landscaping features a wildlife corridor and wind shelter belt is designed into the site layout to reduce wind chill onto buildings and gardens. There are south facing productive (food) gardens with access direct from lounges, minimisation of hard surfaces, SUDS design with attenuation meadow and porous surfaces.

The development has received numerous national and local awards both for its environmental credentials and its creation of uplifting places for people to live.  The development has also been featured in the recent RIBA book ‘Sustainable Architecture’ which also features other Gale & Snowden designed projects.

Key contacts


Gale & Snowden


Gale & Snowden

Timber supplier

Gale & Snowden

Back to Case Studies

Submit a case study

Share your timber projects with us and we will feature them on this site and via our newsletter.

Submit case study

Get the Wood for Good Newsletter