Thatched Homes Around the World.


There are many materials you can thatch a home with, each with different life spans e.g. rush 3-5 years, bracken 5-10 years, heather 20-30 years and reed 30-50 years. However thatch can have an extremely long lifespan on a building. A thatcher will leave the base coat of thatch on the house adding new fresh straw or reed. This practice goes back centuries, so much so that in Britain there are approximately 250 examples of original base coats that survive from the late medieval period (1350-1600).








This is an Arsh in the hills of Taml Nadu, India. It is made from long bunches of bamboo lashed together with cane. The arches support strong poles running the length of the building. Bamboo is lashed over the poles forming a ribcage. Sticks are tied horizontally forming laths to which rows of thatch are lashed.


This is a Chaumiere (cottage) near Rouen in France. Traditionally the thatched roof is topped with a bed of clay where iris are planted. The roots, or rather rhizomes, of the iris helps to mesh together the reed ends in the thatch and remove excess moisture from the ridge.


This is Alfriston Clergy House in East Sussex, England. Running along the end of the garden of this 14th century house is the Cuckmere River where water reeds grow. It's not surprising then that the house was thatched over the centuries with water reed which still forms the base coat of the thatch.








This is the work of Bjarne Wickstrom in Gislev, Denmark. Bjarne is a natural builder who specialises in Rørvæv (an interwoven reed lath), clay plastering, cob and straw bale building, thatching and masonry stoves. Just about all those skills have gone into making this beautiful little house for his son Mikkel.


This beautiful Straw Bale Studio is in Oxford, MI, USA. It's a place to learn about natural building skills and sustainable living. The straw bale home has a thatched roof, earthen plasters with natural paints and uses solar electricity. The home was built by Deanne Bednar. Here's the Straw Bale Studio facebook


These are the thatched blackhouses of Gearrannan on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Originally built to share with farm animals, they were called black because they were smoke filled preserving the thatch. New homes built in the 1800's separated people from their animals and were called 'white houses'.








These are ‘gassho-zukuri’ [prayer-hands] characterized by a steep thatched roof allowing the houses to shed heavy snowfall in winter. The smoke from open fires in these homes preserves the beams and ropes of the structure which has no nails. A roof of this type lasts some 40-50 years, after which the entire community work together to re-thatch the house.


This beautiful thatched roundhouse is the storytelling room at Cae Mabon in Wales. It's just one of many beautiful natural buildings there. If you take a close look at the ridge of the entrance to the roundhouse you will see it has plants growing there to reduce any moisture in the ridge.


These are Dogon granaries in Mali which are either male or female. A male granary is used to store grain while the female granary stores other food and valuables. Each one is built from clay supported on rocks. The structures are raised off the ground to keep termites and rats out. The roof is solid clay with a cap of straw thatch to keep the rain from washing away the clay during the rainy season.