Happy Vale is located high in the Mourne Mountains in an area that is used for hill farming with sheep and cattle grazing and increasingly for recreational use for hill walking etc. Happy Vale aims to respect and promote both these activities while operating a business that provides warm cosy accommodation that guests will appreciate in this beautiful environment.
The cottages were designed to be a showcase of environmental systems while the design embraced the vernacular footprint of the original cottage on site dating back over 100 years. While the look may be traditional, by using high quality insulation including insulated block construction, the buildings enjoy the energy efficiency of modern homes. The roof slates are recycled Bangor Blues in keeping with a traditional cottage.
The aim of the cottages has been to minimise their impact on the environment
- Space and water heating by Ground Source Heat Pump and Wood burning stove linked to under floor heating.
- Water heating also by a 60 vacuum tube Solar hot water system.
- Presently 4KW of Solar PV provides about a third of electricity used. An objective is to generate all the electricity used on site annually by expanding this generating capacity.
- By using phosphate free cleaning products we reduce the harmful chemicals going to the Bio Rock Sewage Treatment plant that uses natural bacterial action to further break down pollutants. This sewage treatment plant uses gravity and airflow to achieve this high quality of treatment (much more reliable than an electrical pump).
- Water use in the cottage is minimised by taking water from a natural spring above the cottage to flush the toilets and in the outside taps.
Guests are asked sort their rubbish separating items that may be recycled by placing them in the recycling bins.
Happy Vale has about 16 acres of farm land in a narrow strip about 1.5Km long from the ridge of Slievenaman at an altitude of 315m down to the Muddock river at 205m. This land had previously been used for grazing but had become overgrown by rushes and gorse when bought in 2012. In partnership with neighbouring hill farming families this land is being restored to fine mountain grazing with gorse hedgerows to provide shelter for stock and wildlife. Some tree planting has been completed using native Mourne Oak saplings.
Happy Vale has been designed particularly to suit guests interested in mountain walking, cycling and other outdoor activities. These activities often result in damp, muddy equipment. To facilitate these activities a spacious drying room heated by the environmentally friendly heat sources is provided.
Community Involvement: Happy Vale has been used for community meetings with Mourne Heritage Trust. The owner regularly clears all roadside rubbish from Happy Vale to Happy Valley and within the Happy Valley area.
Guest payback – half of the money collected by the tumble dryer coin meter is donated to Mourne Mountain Rescue Team.
Guests are given details of shops, pubs, restaurants and amenities to help support other local businesses.
The location of Happy Vale beside many of the main Mourne Mountain Access points lets guests walk from the cottage reducing pollution and the pressure on Mourne car parks.