• Olmares

Wattle and Daubing at Olmares

The manor house at Olmares is an increasingly rare example of one of the traditional grand houses of the Liebena. These beautiful old stone buildings are harder and harder to find in their original state, their interiors and exteriors often clumsily altered to conform to modern tastes.

We're very proud to keep ours preserved as much as possible in its original style and sometimes that means reverting back to using some pretty ancient building techniques!

Over the winter we decided to renovate the old 'Pajar' a Pajar is the local name for a Dutch Barn which is effectively a structure with a roof but no walls - this was traditionally used to store hay and animal feed in the top part, as well as wagons, ploughs and other farmyard machinery in the bottom part. (We still keep a couple of the original plows there now but the area is predominately used by guests for BBQ'ing and a game of darts - times have changed!)

This simple structure has been part of the manor house compound for around 300 years but had started to look like it had seen better days. It was originally built using wattle and daub. This technique has been around since the neolithic age and has been used in construction for at least 6000 years.

Essentially it consists of weaving a lattice to form a wall using hazelnut saplings which we sourced from down by the river and then covering this with daub which is a mixture of mud and hay.

Pablo and Mike newly converted experts after some heavy googling, set to the task and managed to have it finished over a couple of weeks.

Pablo even used a technique when harvesting the hazelnut saplings called 'Moon Phase Harvesting'. This is an ancient method of preserving wood by only cutting the saplings during certain moon phases and when the last leaf has fallen from the sapling. This ensures that the sap in the tree is low when you cut it, and this lack of sap helps prevent insects etc from infesting the wood.

The finished article is above, You may notice that only one side has any daub this is because traditionally the hay would've been stored in the top part of the Pajar, and the gaps in the wattle would allow for good airflow in order to safeguard the hay over any damp winter months.

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Address: Olmares, Barrio Basieda Lomeña, Cantabria, s/n, 39572

Email: olmaresinfo@gmail.com

Telephone: 00 34 942 735102