Samo Terra, Natural Build Course, Bulgaria

Learn how to build your own low cost, ecological home

Students will learn by practical experience how to build a low cost, energy efficient house, using natural building materials. The plan is to have the main construction completed in 7 days, thus foundations, walls, green roof, windows and doors completed to provide a sealed building.

Construction using various techniques will be applied including gravel bag, straw bale, rammed earth, earth brick, cobb and clay + lime plastering showing. Showing how to construct a building from foundation to the roof, simply with minimal time and costs.

Estimated resources needed: £4,000 building materials, 10 people labour and 10 days work, one plot of land.

You will be working closely with an ecological architect and appropriate technology professionals; Ed and Paul. Ask them anything you like and listen well, there is much knowledge and wisdom to be gained! Learning will be on the build by doing and not in a classroom so need to be physically able and prepared to be muddy and dirty!

Building Description:

Roof – Living green roof (1m overhang around building on all sides) 14m x 9m

Walls – Straw bale external wall 12m x 7m with a central load bearing earthen internal wall. 

Finish – Outside walls earth plaster with lime wash finish.

Foundations – Stabilised earth + gravel bag

Floor – Lime stabilised earth floor with underfloor heating (by compost!)

Windows and Doors – Recycled, reused and repairs and salvaged from local area. Cobbed into place with clay and straw.

Outline Build Schedule :

Day 1 : Start gravel bag foundation to dry course level.

Day 2 : Start straw bale outer wall, inner wall earth wall

Day 3 : Complete outer wall and continue inner earth wall

Day 4 : Timber roof / install frames for window and doors/ start mud plastering

Day 5:  Complete timber roof  / install windows, doors / cob filling

Day 6 : Weather proof roof / exterior finish to final plastering.

Day 7 : Exterior lime plastering

The building will be sealed from the elements. Thereafter the living roof, internal earth floor, plumbing, electrics etc. will be completed at a later date.

Your Workshop Leaders:

Paul Edginton 

Engineer + Appropriate Technology Specialist 

A qualified electronics frequency communications engineer, with skills in mechanics, plumbing, electrics, solar, sanitation. His focus is on appropriate technology and energy within permaculture. He has designed and built, regenerative settlements, regenerating desertification landscapes, and ecological festivals. 

Since becoming involved in Permaculture since 2011 he has lived on many projects around the world working on and teaching natural building. Has built and taught using techniques including adobe, cob, earth bag, rammed earth and straw bale. Uses natural energy for buildings e.g bio heating, solar collecting, etc. and thus building materials, play a key part in a systems energy usage. Using materials such as earth, straw, hemp significantly reduces demand of heating or cooling compared with conventional concrete / brick buildings.

Edward Dale-Harris

Architect + Founder of SAWA

Realises the importance of a mindfulness approach to sustainable development, using nature as our teacher, and valuing a collective and collaborative decision making process for a grounded and successful project. 

Delivering earth building projects in challenging environments: as school in post ’14 Ebola Sierra Leone, a low cost house in post genocide ’94 Rwanda and Agricultural Centre in ’79 Cambodia and emergencey housing in post ’15 earthquake Nepal. Working closing with international and grassroots organisations to deliver appropriate and considered solutions.


7 days (Sep 16th – 22nd 2019)

Note: you are welcome to volunteer for longer


Adjacent to the Meadows in the Mountains Festival site, Bulgaria

Experience required:

We are looking for people who are happy to get their hands dirty. Who want to learn how to live more ecologically and sustainably. Volunteer builders should be physically fit to do basic manual tasks. 

They should be proactive, mindful, team spirited and open to learning. We too love to share knowledge and experience for mutual learning. Above all someone who is active, helpful and wants to just get stuck in. 

Please note, course attendees and teachers will all be taking their own responsibility for their own travel, health, safety and well being, whilst always being mindful considerate of others we are working with. Come join the fun!


Course tuition one time offer – ‘donation whatever you like’ basis

Note: 7 day NBC’s usually range between £350 – 700

Find your own way there (arrival time flexible)

Bring your own tent or hire local bell tents

Buy your own food or chip for the communal pot

Contact us to register attendance by emailing:




Build Cost


Build Area

140 m2


16th-22nd September 2019


Architect + Teacher + Builder