Alicante’s busy coastal areas lead to a former Cornish resident settling into a cave house in Granada, instead of the bustling city lifestyle.

“I moved from Cornwall to live in a 1,000 year old cave house,” said Matilda Kennard Troughton.

“It’s so warm you don’t need any heating – I sleep like a baby,” she said.

Matilda, 54, was looking for peace and quiet after years following a hectic work lifestyle as a wholesaler.

“I moved into an 11th century salt store in Granada, transforming it into a modern cave house and opened a bird sanctuary,” said Matilda.

She initially set out looking for a country house, travelling from Alicante to Malaga to view properties: “Due to a dreadful road and a dislike for the busy coastal areas I decided not to return – and headed towards Granada.

“An estate agent showed me a property. Approaching the property you see a large yard, with what looked like a garage door leant up against a hill.  The keys were brought to me by a tiny old man on a tractor,” she said.

She told the Mapping Spain website: “The moment he opened up the door that was it, I fell in love with the place.”

The cave used to be an 11th-century salt warehouse carved out of the rock.

After hiring local builders to make the cave house habitable, she fitted plumbing, a kitchen, flooring and electrics, over a three months period.

The cave house also has two floors: “lt has more space than I need, so I leave the first floor for bats which inhabit the cave.

“Each unique cave house in the area was designed and decorated to meet the requirements of the family that originally dug it out of the hillside.

“Most have a central hallway; rooms to the left and right, with rooms leading further into the ground, used as bedrooms,” she said.

Matilda added: “Cave houses maintain a temperature of about 20C throughout the year – they’re warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

“You could do without heating, if you used thermal glass – but it’s expensive.”