Express & Star

Grand Designs' Wyre Forest Rockhouse Retreat is a hard place to resist

Carved out of a cave in the idyllic Wyre Forest countryside, it is a home that would make many jealous.


But Angelo Mastropietro is ready to share his luxury house with others after opening it up as a holiday retreat.

Cut into a cliff-face surrounded by three acres of woodland, a stay at the cave house could be yours from £145 a night.

Angelo Mastropietro inside the house
Angelo Mastropietro in the kitchen

Despite being in an 800-year-old abandoned cave, the new home is fitted with electricity, running water, underfloor heating and even wi-fi.

The unusual living space, in Low Habberley, near Kidderminster, recently featured on the Channel 4 show Grand Designs and took eight months to become home for Angelo.

Kevin McCloud outside the Rockhouse Retreat
Angelo Mastropietro inside the house

He is now offering people the chance to stay at 'the Rockhouse Retreat', which features one king-size bed.

Other features include a pebbled shower cave carved out by Angelo himself and fossilised timber sinks in the toilet and shower room adjoined by an archway which took 11 days to carve out of the sandstone.

Angelo visited the site as a young boy and was motivated to transform the dwelling when he saw it come onto the market in 2010.

Angelo Mastropietro with planning officer Emma Anning

Angelo said: "My family comes from Italy where there is a tradition of cave dwellings and ironically our surname Mastropietro translates into 'Master of the stone'. I was not particularly daunted by the idea of carving a home out of rock – I felt emotionally attached to the project from the start."

Angelo bought the 2.5 acre site for £62,000 and submitted a planning application to Wyre Forest District Council in March 2014 to turn the derelict cave dwelling into a one-bedroom retreat.

Planning officer Emma Anning took on this case and was instrumental in bringing this project fruition along with colleagues from Water Management and the Ranger service.

The application was approved following various ecological and biodiversity surveys to ensure surroundings were not affected.

More than 70 tonnes of rock was excavated from the stone to provide space to make a home suited for the 21st century.

The project took just eight months to complete.

Work on the external rock face was kept to a minimum to sustain the natural look and the windows were all handmade in oak.

She said: "It is always good to work on something that isn't quite the norm and this certainly wasn't that.

"This was my first cave house so assessing the merits of the proposal against the development plan was a new challenge."

Angelo said: "The work was a labour of love and I was determined to transform this forgotten cave into something special.

"It is estimated that the cave is over 250 million years old and I think we can safely say it will outlive many of the new homes being built today."

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