The thatched circular cottage at Blaise Hamlet, England

 
   
 
 

This beautiful home is a rubble stone lime mortar reed thatched cottage in Blaise Hamlet near Bristol, England. It was designed by John Nash, a master of the picturesque architectural style and designer of Buckingham Palace. The cottage, along with the rest of the hamlet, is owned by the UK's National Trust.

In the past people would ‘patch up’ thatch over the years, but the affluent new owners of thatched houses can afford to completely overhaul the roof. Sadly this practice, without thought to the environment, is killing off the now rare thatch moss.

 
 
 
   

   
       

The beautiful National Trust tearoom (above left), called Periwinkle, in Selworthy, England has more than 3,000 plants on its thatched roof, which represents the largest known population of thatch moss anywhere in the world.

What determines the life of a thatched roof?

That depends on a lot of variables like the pitch of the roof, the thickness of the thatch and its packing density. It also depends on the skill of the thatcher, the climate, the orientation of the house and the surrounding vegetation but not least the quality and type of the thatch material. Reed from well managed reed beds of high quality; harvest timing, cutting, cleaning, dry storage and conditioning all contribute to the reed quality. You can get a complete overview at the National Society of Master Thatchers.