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CEMBRIT Helps Visitors Flock To Sheep Centre

Robust, adaptable and full of character are qualities associated with Glendyne natural slate from Cembrit. All of these were required for the reroofing project at the Seven Sisters Sheep Centre in East Sussex, 8000 Glendyne slates combining traditional looks with long lasting performance to restore a 17th Century Flint Barn to its former glory.

The Seven Sister’s Sheep Centre is an all weather visitor centre that has one of the largest collections of sheep in the world. It features over 40 different breeds which are housed in the historic barn. The Sheep Centre sits in Birling Gap, a valley open to the sea that funnels on-shore winds in from the English Channel. These exposed conditions demanded a roof covering that was strong and durable as well as consistent with the building style. The roof was previously covered with Welsh Slate and following local council approval and with the blessing of the owner, the roofing contractor, Clarke Roofing Southern of Eastbourne, was able to use Glendyne as the replacement slate. With a nearby hotel also featuring the Ffestiniog slate, Glendyne was the perfect choice to blend in with buildings in the surrounding area.

“We wanted a good quality slate that would look and perform exactly as Welsh - without the attached premium price” Says Frank Clarke Managing Director of Clarke Roofing Southern Ltd. “Having used Glendyne on many occasions, we recommended it be put forward to the local planning office for approval. We got the go-ahead and I have to say, the finished result is a credit to the slater’s craft.”

The project was a significant challenge for Clarke Roofing. The roof had previously been ‘turnerised’ i.e. covered with layers of hessian matting and liquid bitumen. This all had to be removed and once stripped the full extent of the renovation presented itself. Due to years of haphazard remedial repairs, as well as wall and rafter movement, the roof was neither straight nor level with an unusual amount of dips and high points in the ridge line with variations of up to 300mm! To achieve the finished result, all rotten timbers were replaced and others firred to help the slaters over the sweeps in the roof line. As David Beer, Head Slater at Clarke Roofing said: “The roof looked simple but if others knew how hard it was to achieve and what preliminary work was involved, frankly, they would be amazed.”

Glendyne slate produced in the town of Saint Marc du Lac Long, Quebec, has a fast growing reputation for quality due to the exceptional slate deposit and the combination of modern extraction technology with traditional finishing skills. The blue/grey slate available exclusively from Cembrit will last the lifetime of the building if laid correctly, and is ideal for use on any major project.

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