Using ground source heating a draughty and derelict barn on an historic farm built by a royal tax collector has been transformed into a luxurious holiday let thanks to the dedication of a Denbighshire woman. Caerfallen, just north of Ruthin, was built for Robert Turbridge in 1559.

Caerfallen, just north of Ruthin, was built for Robert Turbridge in 1559. He was the Queen’s Surveyor of North Wales which meant he collected Elizabeth I’s taxes. It is now owned by Zoë Henderson whose grandfather bought it in 1955. Zoë Henderson, a former businesswoman with American giant Dow Chemical, has transformed the old barn – which was in danger of collapsing – into a three bedroom holiday let with sweeping views across the Vale of Clwyd.

And the old farm building dating back to the reign of Elizabeth I is now as warm as toast thanks to a sophisticated ground source heating system which uses the natural warmth of the rich soil of the Vale of Clwyd. That has been installed by Denbigh-based firm Hafod Renewables (that specialise in installations of ground source heating systems) and has the added benefit of earning owner Zoë Henderson £4,000 a year income from the Renewable Heating Initiative.

Zoe said: “My parents, David and Wendy Henderson, had farmed here for many years but it was time for them to move somewhere warm and the last thing we wanted was to sell the house and see someone else renovate it. The barn is a family project with my sister, Sue, and brother, Harry, as well as my parents although I bought the Caerfallen farmhouse and have started out on what is a real labour of love. The barn was virtually derelict and just about falling down but we have transformed it using local tradespeople and suppliers and it will be open to paying guests from May because I could do with an income from it. I always wanted to use ground source renewable energy and Hafod came up with this solution and have also done all the plumbing and I’m very pleased with the result. I also want to thank Denbighshire County Council and their conservation architect, Phil Ebbrell now retired, from whom we got great support for our project and together all of us are hopefully leaving a legacy here.”