No more long hours, no more mortgage or the business of city life.
Matthew and Charis Watkinson’s main source of income is from the sale of eggs from the chickens they keep on their land at Beeview Farm near Newport, Pembrokeshire.
âI was getting quite stressed at work, doing emergency call outs, busy days, we didn’t have enough time for each other. We wanted to find a bit of space, replace concrete and tarmac with grass and treesâ 34-year-old Charis said.
The parents of five-year-old Elsa, and one-year-old Billy, constructed their home out of a horse box, a couple of flatbed trailers and caravans, with an abandoned 4×4 as a spare room.
âWe made it all from scratch, some wood, some insulation, re-using stuff that other people consider rubbish and then we cobbled it together. We’ve got everything we need for ÂŁ25,000 and we are pretty comfortable”, Matthew said.
They produce all of their own electricity using large solar panels and they get water from the stream that runs through the land. Their small stove and oven is powered by a bio-digester which creates their own supply of gas from food waste.
âItâs an artificial cowâs stomach. We’ve taken one of these tanks and put some cow poo in there. The bugs from the cow poo turn our food waste into methaneâ Matthew explained.
Their home is equipped with an indoor and outdoor shower, including a six foot deep hot tub with an impressive view. To reserve energy for things like the television and phone charging, they use an old olive barrel as a makeshift washing machine.
âWe use a bit of hot water with soap nuts- the skin of the nut is full of soap- lather it up and then we just rotate the barrel for about ten minutes” Matthew said.
The family of four have never looked back.
For them, striving to be more self-sufficient and sustainable has become a way of life and they say decreasing their carbon footprint is their priority.
Matthew and Charis were able to escape to rural Pembrokeshire after they applied for a scheme run by the Welsh Government. The One Planet Development scheme allows people to build their own eco homes as long as they grow 30% of their own food and can sustain a basic income from the land.
âYes, there are some really difficult times, like for example going up after a storm to check the solar panels and realising that the roof wasnât even there any more – it had blown off.â said Matthew.
âI don’t regret anything, I wouldn’t change anything at all. Whatever weâve been through, is worth it. Weâve been working on this place for 7 years now and itâs beginning to feel like I imagined. We are happy with what weâve got. We are so rich in other things that we donât need material riches anymore.â
See more on this with Sean Fletcher on âWonders of the Coast Pathâ at 8.30pm, on Monday. The programme will also be available online at itv.com/walesprogrammes.