Introducing the Hurricane Spa at Silverlake

Immerse yourself
We are absolutely delighted to announce the grand opening of our brand new Spa

The Hurricane Spa at Silverlake, named after the Hawker Hunter aircraft stationed at here during WWII, is the perfect place to unwind and recharge.

The spa offers a heated outdoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art gym, sauna, luxurious treatment rooms, private beach and a roof terrace with beautiful South facing views over Silverlake and the rolling hills of Dorset beyond.

A rare plant which is vulnerable to extinction has been given a helping hand with a second home here at Silverlake.

There are just six populations of Heath Lobelia (Lobelia urens) remaining in the UK, and in a trial that is the first of its kind for this species, the plants have been translocated from a local Dorset population to Silverlake, where they will be managed by our group ecologist Dr Phoebe Carter.

At Silverlake, the plants have been protected from grazing animals using secure wooden enclosures.

The project was funded by the Habitat First Group (HFG) and brings together botanical knowledge from Dorset County Council, the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, and Natural England.

View Article Here

“One of the UK’s most charismatic mammals has made itself at home in the Cotswolds.

An otter has been spotted on the Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswold Water Park, near Cirencester.

It hasn’t just been making use of the rivers, ponds, lakes and reedbeds in the wilder parts of the Estate, but also those right in the heart of the development, a mere whiskers length from humans and houses.

Over the last 20 years, Lower Mill Estate has created numerous lakes, ditches, ponds and reedbeds across the Estate which provide the perfect habitat for these elusive and nocturnal mammals to move through.”

Our aim as a group is to show that ecology, architecture and community can exist in harmony and flourish together and we continue to do just that. Development does not have to damage the natural environment, or even aim just not to disturb it, but done correctly, architecture and ecology can help each other thrive.

Click the link below to view the fantastic footage captured by our multi-talented groundsman Bob Iles and read the comments from our group ecologist, Dr Phoebe Carter.

View Here

Following the Habitat House’s success at the What House? Awards 2017, winning the gold award for Best House Design in the UK, Country Living Magazine, Good Housekeeping and House Beautiful have included our triumph in their latest publications.

We’re very proud to feature on the pages of some of the country’s most prestigious publications.

Click on the links below to read the full articles.

Country Living

House Beautiful

Good Housekeeping

We are pleased to share with you a fantastic write-up by the Bat Conservation Trust about the important work we are doing to help increase bat populations at Silverlake and Lower Mill Estate, as well as the discovery of the Natterer’s bats (Myotis Nattereri) roosting in our Habitat Houses.

“Over the last 20 years, Lower Mill Estate has concentrated its efforts on providing artificial roosting sites for bats by installing bat boxes on buildings, under bridges and at various locations around the site, as well as converting the roof voids of several bin store buildings on site into bat roosts.

Excitingly, in recent months the Estate has discovered that the Habitat Houses on site are living up their name and are being regularly used by roosting bats. The results of the DNA analysis came back as positive for Natterer’s bats.”

Habitat First Group has built an outstanding reputation for our conservation work over the last 20 years and we look forward to another 20 years of proving that ecology and architecture can live together seamlessly in perfect harmony.

Read the Article Here

This award’s season has been a resounding success for Habitat First Group, with three new accolades received at the What House? Awards 2017 to add to our ever-growing trophy cabinet. The What House? Awards celebrate 21 categories covering an extensive range of new build homes constructed by the UK’s top housebuilders.

We are extremely proud and humbled to announce that Habitat First Group won:

Gold Award – Best Design, Habitat House at Lower Mill Estate

Bronze Award – Best Sustainable Development, Silverlake

Bronze Award – Best Exterior Design, Light House at Silverlake

Conservation Builders also enjoyed a stellar evening on Friday night at the Grosvenor House Hotel, beating off stiff competition from some of the country’s top construction companies to win:

Bronze Award – Best Small Housebuilder

These are magnificent achievements and we are delighted that the hard work and dedication of our teams is getting the recognition it so richly deserves.

We are extremely proud and delighted to announce that Silverlake picked up two major awards at this years UK Property Awards, hosted at The Royal Lancaster Hotel in London:


Best Leisure Development, UK

Best Leisure Architecture, South West England


Since purchasing the site of the Warmwell Quarry in 2011, six years of painstaking hard work and dedication from the teams at Habitat First Group and Conservation Builders Ltd have transformed the site from a working mineral extraction site into an exciting new development of sustainable holiday homes located in the wildly beautiful environs of West Dorset.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has been involved in this magnificent project so far and to the residents who have bought into our vision. We look forward to many more successful years to come.

Silverlake has also been nominated in both categories at the International Property Awards on December 4th at the Savoy Hotel. Fingers crossed that our achievements will also be recognised on the international stage and we will have a fantastic early Christmas present to celebrate.

The Habitat House was including in the Gentleman’s Journal over the weekend in a ‘properties of the week’ roundup. It sits alongside properties from all over the world including New York, Cannes and Suffolk.

The Gentleman’s Journal is a men’s luxury lifestyle print and digital magazine covering all things from style, grooming, cars, lifestyle, travel, culture, interviews, social diary, food and drink.

View The Article Here

Investment in residential property has been a political hot potato for quite some time now and that potato shows no signs of cooling anytime soon. Residential property as a rule of thumb is a lucrative, low-risk long-term investment and has been for the last thirty years, however as the national housing crisis deepens and central government continues to crackdown on buy-to-let investors with increasing rates of Stamp Duty and less favourable tax breaks for landlords, investors are seeking an alternative and looking to diversify.

When you hear the term “purpose-built holiday home” it traditionally evokes memories of visiting Grandma and Grandpa at their static caravan in Bognor before enjoying an evening of cabaret and Punch and Judy surrounded by men in red coats (and fun times they were too). Now times have changed; expectations have changed, the market has changed and the demand for innovative architecture, sophisticated design and eco-friendly construction have continued to grow with the increasing popularity of shows such as Grand Designs and innovative companies like Huf Haus and Tesla.

Our very special mix of community, ecology and architecture has been growing in popularity for many years now and one of the key reasons is simple…The best investments are those that you can enjoy yourself. I think that most people will agree that their family will get a lot more fun and happy memories from a holiday home in the beautiful countryside of the South-West than a couple of student flats on the outskirts of Luton. However, far from being just an investment in family time and happy memories, many sociopolitical factors are making a holiday home in the UK a more attractive prospect for the serious investor, allow me to elaborate…


Whilst Brexit brings with it much uncertainty and presents many challenges over the coming years, particularly for the volatile financial markets, it has revealed some very interesting opportunities in our sector. Holiday homes in Europe are becoming less viable and more expensive with the falling value of the pound and therefore an investment at home is becoming even more attractive. Who knows what changes in legislation are around the corner regarding home ownership abroad and if there’s one thing investors don’t like, it’s uncertainty.


The staycation market across the UK is booming with families getting less bang for their buck abroad and rediscovering the forgotten beauty of the Great British Countryside.  Reports by the Great Britain Tourism Survey show that the size of the domestic holiday market grew by 41.6% from 2006 – 2015 and expenditure grew significantly from £19.14bn to £28.5bn, an increase of nearly 55%. More recent research from the Resolution Foundation also shows that 5.2m people in the UK now own multiple properties, compared with just 1.6m in the year 2000.


Families are getting more frustrated with the inconvenience and stress of flying abroad, particularly with budget airlines and the recent debacle involving Ryanair. This would appear to simply be the first of many meltdowns involving these budget airlines and their share prices are telling the story.


Homes in Britain generally appreciate better in comparison to their counterparts in mainland Europe and whilst a holiday home in the Cotswolds will most likely not rival the capital appreciation of an apartment closer to London, it will probably do much better than a French or Spanish holiday home and the enjoyment factor remains.

Stamp Duty

As you are purchasing a plot of land and building your own home on said plot as opposed to purchasing a new build home, the Stamp Duty implications are weighted in your favour. Stamp Duty is only payable on the land, not the build, and the additional 3% surcharge does not apply.

Like-Minded Community

Investing in a purpose-built holiday home that does not have permission as a primary residence does not take stock away from the first home market, meaning you can invest with a clear conscience in a community of like-minded individuals.

Furnished Holiday Let

Is the Furnished Holiday Let the new Buy-To-Let? Recent government changes have made Buy-T0-Let less attractive and smart investors are now taking advantage of the favourable tax breaks available to Furnished Holiday Let properties. To qualify your property must be available to let 210 days per year and actually let at least 105 days per year which opens up many benefits in the form of Capital Gains relief, Inheritance Tax relief and Capital Allowances.


Whichever way you look at it, we’re living longer – it’s a fact. With advances in medical science and improved vitality into our older age, we will be retired longer and our retirement plans are taking on an entirely new shape. The prospect of having a modern Grand Designs style property in the countryside, designed and built to your specification is a fantastic thought for anyone approaching the end of their working life, not to mention a wonderful legacy to pass on to the next generation.

In conclusion, the current social, political and economic landscape has created an environment where a holiday home in the UK looks to be an even more attractive prospect. You no longer need to make a binary choice between financial returns and family fun; break the mould and enjoy both.

Red Paxton, Director of Habitat First, is on a mission to create the most exciting collection of modern architecture in the world. Along with his siblings, Red sits at the helm of Habitat First which means overseeing the development of three rural UK sites into design-led holiday home communities.

In this piece, Red discusses the key influences in his life, his short-term goals for the business and his ambitions for the future.