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William’s Den: the Sustainable Attraction of the Future


Find out how Native Architects used natural materials to design a truly sustainable attraction for William’s Den.


Sustainability is a key consumer trend that attractions, holiday parks, and the like, must get on board with to stay popular. At the Farm Business Innovation Show, we’ll be welcoming hundreds of exhibitors, all with sustainable methods of boosting visitor attractions, for you to take inspiration from.


With your FREE ticket to the show, you can learn from the experts, and network with companies, like Native Architects, who can help you out. Discover how this fantastic company built a sustainable site for William’s Den, and get inspired for your next building!

The outside of William's Den has a large sandpit and wooden play area for children to play in

The Sustainable Elements of William’s Den

William’s Den in North Cave, designed by Native Architects, was the winner of the 2018 RICS Yorkshire Tourism and Leisure Award. It is a great example of rural estate and farm diversification; a new and exciting adventure attraction that gives children the chance to connect with nature, and get active as they explore a custom-designed complex that brings the great outdoors inside.


Tourism is of crucial importance to the sustainable economic growth of our rural areas. William’s Den has become a catalyst for growth in the local area, providing jobs to local people, attracting visitors, and generating revenue within rural East Yorkshire. It is also an example of a truly sustainable tourist attraction.


Native Architects and the client put sustainability at the heart of the construction process, carefully considering the materials used throughout the build. Native specified materials from natural and renewable sources, using local supply chains.


These materials reduce the embodied energy of the building, and perform better in use than most conventional materials Studies show that they improve indoor air quality, with a positive impact on occupant health.

Recycled Foam Glass

Recycled Foamglas in the floor construction provides insulation, and prevents damp from the ground rising up into the building - replacing hardcore, plastic membranes and conventional plastic insulation. The material is made from 100 percent recycled glass, and so helps to reduce waste and our dependence on natural resources.


Above the Foamglas in the floor is a layer of ‘Limecrete’, used as an alternative to a standard concrete floor. Lime has a lower embodied energy than concrete, meaning that less energy is used to manufacture the material, and less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

Hemp Walls

The walls in the play barn are made from hemp blocks. Hemp is one of the most useful plants on the planet, with modern day uses in everything from clothing, to food, biofuels, and construction.


Industrial grade hemp, with a low THC content (preventing its misuse as a narcotic), is grown in Yorkshire and used across a range of industries. The hemp blocks at William’s Den are made from the stalk of the hemp plant mixed with lime, producing a building block which is insulating, fireproof and ‘breathable’.


Hemp blocks have excellent properties when dealing with moisture, helping to control the humidity inside the building, and prevent water damage to the walls. As a material made from a plant, hemp blocks not only have a very low embodied energy, but growing hemp can actually help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


The building was designed to reduce heat loss using a ‘fabric first’ approach, and any heat then required is supplied by renewable energy generation onsite, with a biomass district heating system and a solar photovoltaic roof.

The William's Den building is made from sustainable materials, like wood

Want Your Very Own Sustainable Attraction?

Overall, Native’s approach to William’s Den stems from a growing need to make buildings healthier, and ultimately happier, places to be. Low toxic, natural materials that allow the building to breathe and maintain good internal air quality are an integral part of sustainable construction.


If you love the sound of what Native does, don’t hesitate to get your FREE tickets to the Farm Business Innovation Show, on 6th & 7th November at the NEC, Birmingham. This way, you can get face-to-face advice from those who can take you in the right direction with more sustainable choices. Don’t miss out, and we’ll see you there!

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