An eco home with its own bat palace and night sky observatory

The large eco home with layers of balconies and an American style barn and bat palace
The 'bat palace' is in a workshop next to the house (Image credit: Daisy Layland)

A jaw-dropping carbon-neutral mansion that boasts a stables and wildlife sanctuary – including a 'bat palace' – is on the market for £2.75 million

Great Deptford House, in the village of High Bickington, Devon, was refurbished over eight years and has an automated observatory and balconies with views of the surrounding countryside. It boasts five bedrooms, six bathrooms (five en-suite), two reception rooms, and a large open plan kitchen and family room. 

An archaeological survey revealed that part of the new build occupies a site that was a significant medieval house, which itself had been built on top of a Saxon roundhouse. That in turn was built on the remains of Iron Age or Bronze Age building and some of the structural finds have been incorporated into the self build house.

Bat palace built to avoid £5,000 fine per bat 

After purchasing the original property, owners Steven and Tamsin Bryan found damp and applied for planning permission to demolish the existing house. However, an ecological survey revealed that the roof space of the existing property was a haven for bats.

The couple were given the green light as long as they created the £30,000 new home for the animals before demolishing. Mr Bryan told The Times that they would be liable for a fine of £5,000 per bat if they didn’t rehome the three species found on the site (pipistrels, brown long eared, and lesser horseshoe).

He said: “You can also end up with a six-month prison sentence. And you can no longer plead ignorance, which is what people used to do. So we got permission to build our house but we weren't allowed to pull the old one down until we built a bat palace.”

The bat palace which is a wood clad building with slate roof with a red tractor in the foreground

The purpose-built bat palace can be seen behind the red tractor (Image credit: Daisy Layland)

Haven for otters, deer, kingfishers and owls

The property is set over 7.84 acres of land which includes two ponds, around six acres of natural meadowland, which has been significantly improved for horses. Below the meadowland are tall trees and a natural running stream which is habitat to a wide variety of wildlife .

Red, roe and, fallow deer are regular visitors, as are several barn and tawny owls, which have been known to utilise the many balconies as hunting perches. There is also a resident kingfisher who can be seen fishing from the pond if you are in the living room. There have also been sightings of otters on the property.

In the summer large numbers of swallows utilise the American-style barn stable to nest and raise their young.

A large pond with weeping willow tree and the house int he background

The eco home has a large pond which attracts all sorts of wildlife (Image credit: Daisy Layland)

With an American style barn for horses

Close to the home is an American-style barn stable with five loose boxes, a tack room, and a covered concrete apron.

The barn has power, lighting, drainage, and water and could be converted into a further dwelling or a large garage with the correct planning permission.

The all-weather sand school and could also be converted into tennis courts or an all-weather sports pitch.

Main home powered by heat pumps and solar panels

The house has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ‘A’ rating thanks to modern building techniques, highly efficient insulation products and triple glazing. You can find out more about EPCs and 'what is my home's energy rating?' in our guide.

It is heated by an eco-friendly ground source heat pump, has 13.2kW provided by solar panels (with 10.8kW battery storage) - all of which combine to make the property carbon neutral.

Plus its own night sky observatory

The property is on the edge of Exmoor National Park, which was designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2011 by the International Dark Sky Association. 

There is minimal light pollution and on a cloudless night you can see thousands of stars and astronomical sights such as the Milky Way with the naked eye. To take advantage of this, Great Deptford House has a fully automated observatory linked to the house. 

The sale is being overseen by Daisy Layland and can be found here.

Great Deptford House has a fully automated observatory linked to the house

(Image credit: Daisy Layland)
Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.