A DRAUGHTY and derelict barn on a historic farm built by a royal tax collector has been transformed into a luxurious holiday let.

The old farm building, dating back to more than 460 years to the reign of Elizabeth I, is now "warm as toast" thanks to a sophisticated heating system which uses the natural warmth of the rich soil of the Vale of Clwyd.

The system has been installed by Denbigh-based firm Hafod Renewables and has the added benefit of earning owner Zoë Henderson £4,000 a year income from the Renewable Heating Initiative.

Caerfallen, just North of Ruthin was built for Robert Turbridge, in 1559, the Queen’s Surveyor of North Wales which meant he collected Elizabeth’s taxes, and is now owned by Zoë whose grandfather bought it in 1955.

Zoe, a former businesswoman with American giant Dow Chemical, has transformed the old barn - which was in danger of collapsing - and transformed it into a three bedroom-three bathroom holiday let.

The property features underfloor heating which is powered by heat generated by the sun and stored in the ground in a nearby field where sheep and Zoe's horses are based.

In the boiler room, there is a heat exchanger capable of transforming the winter chill of ground temperatures as low as 4C to a tropical 35C.

David Jones, managing director of Hafod Renewables, said: "We have done similar work but this was such a historic property that it was pretty special.

"Zoe wanted to use renewable heating and we recommended ground source because it is cheap, efficient and easy to run and there was plenty of ideal land owned by Zoe’s father alongside the property.

"The system uses the big bank of heat that is built up in the ground by the sun through the summer and which is retained through the year, even in the hardest frosts and snow.

"Ground-source heating is half the price of oil and a third of the cost of electric."

The 12-kilowatt heating system is part of a major renovation carried out by Zoe and the Henderson family over the past five years.

Zoe said: “My parents, David and Wendy Henderson, had farmed here for many years but it was time for them to move somewhere warm and the last thing we wanted was to sell the house and see someone else renovate it.

"The barn is a family project with my sister, Sue, and brother, Harry, as well as my parents although I bought the Caerfallen farmhouse and have started out on what is a real labour of love."

The let will be open to paying guests from May.