Just to the south west of the famous Dart Estuary there is a stretch of the coastal path that is inspiring for its views across the rolling hills of the South Hams and out to sea. The coastal path leaves the Estuary at Dartmouth Castle and soon heads a little inland, past the old Coast Guard’s Cottages, eventually crossing through the beautiful area of Little Dartmouth.  

  • A stunning contemporary design
  • Green oak frame with traditional pegged joints
  • Extensive use of Cornish Delabole slate
  • A new build blending with the surrounding countryside


This area is the site for an amazing house that is being built with oak timber frames and where South Hams Roofing have been commissioned to provide the roof. (Click here to see the latest post.)

This is an unusual new build project which makes use of a large quantity of green oak which, with its roughly hewn form, provides an aged feel and rustic look. The roof is always a significant part of any building, so the choice of material is important, but none more so than here where it is crucial that that the roofing material fits not only with the natural wood, but it also blends with the surrounding countryside.

Pete Scoble: “The obvious choice of roofing material for this kind of house in such a setting is Cornish Delabole slate. Not only is it a long lasting and strong slate, ideal for standing up to the coastal weather, but it is a local material from the South West which is used across many roofs in Devon and Cornwall. It has soft texture and grey hue that just looks right; it gives a roof a certain presence – it looks weathered and part of scenery from the moment it’s laid.”

This is a significant construction by any standards, requiring a high degree of ground-work before the main supports of green oak begin to take shape. And as the house has grown the full scale of the roof is revealed, ready for the Delabole slate – so why does this material have such a reputation?

Slate from the Delabole area in Cornwall was probably mined in medieval times with the quarry becoming a significant source of slate in the 15th century, By the 17th century the quarry was exporting slate around the world and with continuing production today, this makes Delabole the oldest working slate quarry in England.

The quarry itself is about half a mile long and a quarter of a mile across and at 425 feet deep it is the largest man made pit in England; until recently the largest in the world. And the slate itself has a reputation around the world for its long lasting durability as well as its appealing colour and texture – all in all it is widely considered to be second to none. There is a considerable amount to see at the Delabole Quarry.

“Delabole Slate Quarry 2014” by Geni – Photo by user:geni. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Delabole_Slate_Quarry_2014.JPG#/media/File:Delabole_Slate_Quarry_2014
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