Thursday, September 18, 2008

Modern Day Hobbits in Wales Fought the Law ... and Won

OK. My apologies to Mr. Tolkien and his fans. The villagers in this story are not really Hobbits. But they have been living in straw and mud huts that appear to be perfectly suited to the tiny denizens of Tolkien's fantasy classic. Unfortunately, these folks had to go up against their own version of a dark lord bent on their destruction. In 1993, Julian and Emma Orbach set up an eco-community on their 180-acre farm in the Preseli mountains of west Wales was set up. They thought they had waved their final goodbye to the rat race, let alone judicial issues. But that changed when a survey plane spotted a a bit of sun glinting off a solar panel. Officials were baffled -- they could find no records for this village. No planning permissions had been granted for this green haven. So it was ordered to be torn down.

But, after enduring a decade of inquiries, court cases and planning hearings, the 22 villagers are celebrating a victory. Take a look at the full story, which includes a few photos of the village's buildings. This might be what some Heathens mean when they wistfully speak of getting back to the land.

Read more: Lost middle-class tribe's 'secret' eco-village in Wales spotted in aerial photograph taken by plane | Mail Online

Julian Orbach Architectural historian Julian Orbach in front of a village roundhouse

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