The house that £150 built: Farmer builds one-bedroom home from mud, clay, and materials found in a skip - all without a single power tool

Michael Buck's extraordinary property has no electricity, but was made with his own bare hands using ancient building techniques for under £150

The cob house near Oxford (SWNS)

A farmer has built a one-bedroom house for just £150 using mud, clay, straw, and materials he found in a skip.

Michael Buck, 59, erected the 'cob house' at the bottom of his garden near Oxford using an ancient building technique.

Cob houses are built according to a method thought to date back to prehistoric times, which uses only earth, clay and straw - and no power tools.

Ex-art teacher Michael, who is now a rural smallholder, spent just a small sum of money on his dream home by using only natural materials or unwanted items from skips.

Since completing the project after two years spent gathering materials and constructing the house, Michael has started renting out the property.

His current tenant - a worker on a neighbouring dairy farm - pays for her lodgings in milk.

The house's floorboards were rescued from a neighbour's skip and the windows used to be the windscreen from an old lorry.

The dedicated dad-of-three even taught himself how to thatch in order to create the intricate roof.

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Although it has no electricity, the pretty cottage - which looks like a home from the Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth - boasts free running water from a nearby spring and walls painted with a chalk and plant resin mixture.

It has a kitchen and dining area, and a bunk-style bed to maximise space below.

Heat is provided by a wood-burning stove - and thanks to the cob walls and thatched roof the house it is surprisingly well-insulated.

A shallow well outside the front door even acts as a primitive fridge to keep milk and other liquids cool.

The isolated retreat even has its own thatched outhouse complete with composting toilet.

Michael said he wanted to challenge the notion that paying for a house should take a lifetime.

He said: "It was meant to cost nothing but some things went wrong so we ended up spending £150 on it.

"If I were a property developer I'd have an infinity overspend because as a percentage of nothing, which was my target, £150 is quite a lot.

"But I believe in the idea of houses not costing much. A house does not have to cost the Earth - you only need earth to build it.

"There's this idea people have to spend their whole lives paying off their mortgage doing something they don't enjoy which I wanted to challenge.

"I also used mostly natural materials - I wanted the house to fit in with the landscape rather than intrude upon it.

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"The house is built from locally-sourced materials and apart from the glass they are biodegradable.

"With proper maintenance it could last forever but it would also naturally return to the Earth if it was left alone. One day it will disappear back into the landscape - it would just be a mound of earth if it was left.

"There are also some personal touches - the names of everyone who helped in building the house is written on the wall. It includes the names of three cows - Marigold, Crystal and Mist - who provided dung which helped to make the walls."

Cob houses have been built across the world for thousands of years and can still be found in countries like Afghanistan, New Zealand and America.

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English cob was traditionally made by mixing a clay-based subsoil with sand, straw and water before using oxen to trample it.

The mixture would then be ladled on to a stone foundation and trodden into the wall by workers - a process known as 'cobbing'.

Over time the layers of cob would be gradually built up as the previous layer - or 'course' - hardened.