Prince Charles visited a pioneering eco-home in Garston today, but left requiring a trip to a dry cleaners after dripping environmentally-friendly cement down his smart suit trousers.

The Prince of Wales popped into the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to inspect the progress of a modern, low carbon home being built by one of his charities.

The home, which is being built at BRE's Innovation Park, in Bucknalls Lane, Garston, will be constructed with entirely natural materials.

Planners say the "natural house," which is intended to reduce the costs of zero-carbon housing, will be traditional looking but made from completely natural materials.

The Prince, arrived at the park at 12.30pm, before chatting to builders and some of the brains behind the futuristic house.

He then tried his hand at brick laying, lifting two ceremonial fired clay blocks, one encrusted with the Prince of Wales' feathers and the other with today's date, into place.

However, in doing so the Prince inadvertently dripped sticky cement down the trouser leg of his navy blue suit trousers.

Turning towards the assembled builders, the Prince asked with a laugh: “Does it come out?”

The house has been designed by Prince Charles' Foundation for the Built Environment.

It is being constructed with entirely natural materials and once finished, will be made from clay bricks, lime plaster and with the roof insulated with sheep's wool.

The outside of the house, which is being deliberately built in a traditional style, will be rendered in lime and hemp, while the walls will be internally insulated with wood fibre.

It is the second time in the past two years the Prince has visited BRE.

And Peter Bonfield, chief executive of BRE, said the fact he had paid the latest visit, despite the house only being part built, showed his support for the firm's enterprising work.

He said: “Prince Charles has really strong interest in matters of the built environment.

“The buildings we live in, the buildings we learn I, the buildings we heal in, they have been a real passion of his.

“I think the fact he has come today is really positive, because he hasn't come to see a finished building, he wants to be part of the process of building it.”

After giving Prince Charles a crash course in laying the clay blocks, Wilf Jordan said the heir to the throne had settled any of his nerves.

He said: “He was interested in this house because it gives you a traditional designed house, built using ultra-modern materials.

“It was a pleasure to meet him. I thought I would have been a little bit more nervous but I wasn't.”