A 15-HOME eco development in Boncath received a low-carbon delivery this week, with timber sourced from a woodland just a few miles away delivered by mule to the local sawmill.

The Western Solar Garden Village project, which includes ten affordable homes for local families – produces buildings which consumes just 12% of the energy of more traditional housing.

Timber from nearby Ffynnone Woods between Newchapel and Bwlchygroes is being used for cladding which was brought to the nearby Calon yn Tyfu sawmill by a mule drawn dray.

"We aim to be as sustainable as possible and using timber that makes just a three and a half mile journey underlines how we source as many products as we can locally," said Ty Solar chief executive Glen Peters.

"We were delighted that we could work with Calon yn Tyfu to make this such a home-grown project."

The wood – Douglas Fir – is grown sustainably, felled as part of a thinning program and sawn on site by Calon yn Tyfu (Growing Heart) at their sawmill located in Ffynnone where they are running a 20 year community woodland project.

The timber was collected by Susannah Powell and Willow the mule. Susannah is an experienced forester who uses traditional techniques for harvesting logs in areas that are inaccessible to machinery.

She has brought up Willow from a foal and taught her to handle logs, helping to preserve the natural habitat on the forest floor.

Mules are incredibly strong and agile and with a good handler can be an essential part of efficient forest management.

The Western Solar project is just the latest community project that they have supplied with timber; others include the Lammas eco village at Glandwr and Brynberian village hall.

Calon yn Tyfu, a workers cooperative founded in 1996 has been sustainably managing the community woodland since 2006, gradually replacing the conifers with broad leaved native species. A sawmill was introduced eight years ago and the site now employs 14 part time people.

Calon yn Tyfu will supply a total of 2,750 planks to clad the new homes – the equivalent of approximately 100 trees.

The garden village development is just the latest of a string of low energy projects by Western Solar in West Wales. Others include sites at Ammanford, Glandwr, Trefin and Stackpole.